The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate America’s independence and enjoy family and friends. With all of the celebration going on, it can be easy to let your guard down. We’ve got some tips for what to look out for to help you all have a safe and happy Fourth.
Consider Ear Protection
Fireworks can be very loud to a baby's delicate ears. Not only can the noises scare your little one, in certain cases it can even damage your child’s hearing. If you’re going to a large display, bring along a pair of noise-canceling headphones or good ear plugs to protect your little one.
Apply (and Reapply) Sunscreen Liberally
If your baby is older than six months, sunscreen is a must. Depending on what activities you and your little one are up to, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours. If you’re swimming or sweating, sunscreen should be applied about every 45 minutes. A small dab is not enough, make sure you’re using a good amount to coat all of your baby’s skin--and yours too! Keep younger babies in the shade of trees, sun hats, and light but long clothing.
Temporarily Tattoo Your Kid
If you’re going to a parade or festival, put a temporary ID tattoo on your child. Kids who are mobile can wander off and can quickly become lost in a crowd. If you’re not 100% confident that your child can say his or her full name and phone number during a scary and stressful situation, these tattoos can be a lifesaver.
Life pro tip: If you can’t find ID tattoos, use a sharpie to write your phone number on your child’s arm, then seal it with some liquid bandage.
Stay Away From Illegal Fireworks
Fireworks are illegal in many states (including Massachusetts). Whether they’re legal or not, still keep a safe distance from anyone who is not a trained fireworks technician. Accidents happen every year, so keep your child safely away from any non-professional displays.
Never Leave Children Unattended with Sparklers
Sparklers are great fun at night; and almost every adult has memories of twirling sparklers and writing their names in the air. While sparklers are often considered safe, it is still possible to get burned by their fiery tips. Keep an eye on any child's sparkler until it is safely out—then dip the remnants in water to be extra-certain of its being out.
Watch Your Drinks
Kids are naturally inquisitive, and a Fourth of July party is a perfect chance to try and taste a swig of alcohol. Leaving cups, cans, and bottles around at the barbecue can be asking for trouble. Smaller children are often unaware a half-filled cup is a mixed drink, so keeping any adult beverages safely in your hand or in the trash is the best way to prevent anyone under the age of 21 from purposely or accidentally swallowing anything they shouldn’t. If there is any question as to whether a young child has imbibed alcohol, please go to the ER, or dial 911.
Nominate or Hire a Lifeguard
If you’re having a pool party this Fourth, find a responsible adult or two to be honorary lifeguards. It’s expected that adults will likely have some alcohol, but if children are going to be in the pool you’re going to need some watchful and dedicated eyes. If you ask your friends ahead of time and nobody is comfortable keeping an eye on the swimming pool, call your local YMCA for a list of any lifeguards for hire, or do an internet search for lifeguard companies in your area.
Keep Children Away from Barbecue Grills
There’s nothing better than a Fourth of July cookout, but those grills get hot, and stay hot. Always be mindful of where grills and fires are located to be sure that your child is nowhere nearby. Coals and grills stay hot long after the fire is out, so best to avoid allowing your child near them altogether.
Put Away Your Perishables
There are so many amazing side dishes to be had at a Fourth of July celebration, but be wary of anything left unrefrigerated for more than an hour. Food poisoning is not a fun way to celebrate America’s birthday. If you want to keep your spread out for longer than an hour, consider separating dishes into two servings and rotate them into the refrigerator every 45 minutes or so. Otherwise, chuck the leftovers.
Stay off the Road
If you can do one thing to keep your family safe, staying off the road on the Fourth of July is the most important thing you can do. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the Fourth of July is the day with the highest rate of road fatalities. If you must drive, be sure you’re sober, be aware of your surroundings, and be certain that your child is in a properly installed and correctly adjusted car seat.