Sunshine! Barbecues! Fireworks! Who doesn’t love a good Independence Day celebration? But this year, celebrating Independence Day will be different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross offers safety tips you can follow.
If your community is reopening, know which precautions to take in public settings.
- Continue to social distance by staying 6 feet away from others, especially if you are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (over age 65 or any age with underlying medical conditions).
- Continue to wear cloth face coverings in public. Face coverings are most essential when social distancing is difficult.
- Follow guidelines for your area when it comes to how large gatherings can be. Avoid crowds and mass gatherings.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Stay home if you are sick.
Many public fireworks shows may be canceled this summer as communities try to avoid holding events where large crowds will gather. If you plan to use your own fireworks, check first if it is legal in your area.
- Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
Grilling fires spark more than 10,000 home fires on average each year in the U.S. To avoid this:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Never grill indoors — not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, stays away from the grill, including children and pets.
- Keep the grill away from the house or anything that could catch fire.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
Warmer weather means enjoying the water. Be “water smart,” have swimming skills and know how to help others. This includes home pools — where young children are most at risk of drowning — and open water, such as ponds, rivers and lakes — where older children and teens are more likely to drown than any other location. With less access to lifeguarded aquatic facilities this summer, youth and teens may consider open water environments that are not designated for swimming.
- Talk to your children, including older youth and teenagers, about water safety. A variety of resources are available at redcross.org/watersafety and redcross.org/watersafetyforkids.
- If you choose to take your family to the water, make sure the area is designated for swimming and has lifeguards on duty. Once there, maintain social distancing, both in and out of the water, between you and people who don’t live with you.
- Wear face coverings on land, especially when physical distancing is difficult. Do not wear them in the water as it may be difficult to breathe. Don’t share goggles, nose clips, snorkels or other personal items.
- Designate a water watcher whose sole responsibility is to supervise people during any in-water activity until the next person takes over.
- Kiddie or inflatable pools can be a great way to have fun. Drain the water from the pool and flip it over after swim time is over.
Be sure to remember the basics:
· Wear Sunscreen: Although being outside in the sun is a great way to absorb some healthy Vitamin D, make sure to use sun protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Studies show that sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer by 12 times!
- Eat Light: No one wants to eat a heavy meal when you’re outside in the heat. To make sure your food doesn’t weigh down your festivities, make salads and sides to balance the main course, maybe grill your meal! You might be snacking all day too, so make sure healthy snacks like veggie sticks are readily available.
- Stay Hydrated with Water: No matter where you are in America, July is hot! Be sure to drink plenty of water and keep your body from overheating, and stay away from caffeinated and sugary drinks that dehydrate you. Keep plenty of fresh fruit on hand too, as fruits are packed with vitamins, fiber, and water.
- Wear Some Earplugs: The sounds of summer—such as fireworks and marching bands—can definitely damage your hearing. In fact, fireworks have a sound decibel of 150, and ear protection is recommended for decibels above 85.
- Make Sure you’re Using a Clean Grill: A dirty grill can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. After you are done grilling, do a quick clean up of any visible debris and food, then turn up the heat and let the grill burn off a bit.
- Skip Sugary Deserts: This is the season when tons of fresh fruit is available from the grocery, farmers markets, and fruit stands! Cut up strawberries and melon or grill peaches, pineapple, or bananas to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding unnecessary processed sugar.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross offers a series of free mobile apps to put lifesaving safety information in the palm of your hand. Download these apps by searching for “American Red Cross” in your app store or at redcross.org/apps. The Red Cross Swim App has water safety tips and resources for parents and caregivers along with child-friendly games, videos and quizzes.