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The Deadly Truth About July 4th
With Fourth of July celebrations right around the corner, summertime fun is on the way. Millions of Americans are planning patriotic festivities this weekend, but celebrators should beware. Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year, both on the road and at home. Connecticut parents can reduce their child’s chance of injuries this weekend simply by being prepared. Planning for safety could mean the difference between spending your holiday celebrating or taking a less than thrilling trip to the emergency room.
The AAA predicts over 41.4 million people will jump in the car this Independence Day to travel for the holiday. With nearly 2 million more travelers on the roads than the previous year, traffic accidents are bound to skyrocket.
Fourth of July is one of the deadliest days for families on the road, and mostly due to impaired driving. In 2017, over 600 people died in motor vehicle accidents during the month surrounding Independence Day. According to Forbes, more than 39 percent of these accidents were caused by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a 23 percent increase from 2016.
Connecticut State Troopers respond to an average of 300 to 400 vehicle accidents on the Fourth of July every year, but not all are caused by drunk driving. Fatigued, distracted, and aggressive drivers, can also lead to catastrophic accidents on the road, particularly road congestion rises.
Parents can significantly protect their children from vehicle accident injuries this weekend by buckling their seatbelts or using a child safety seat. Make sure your child is properly restrained based on their size. If you need help with installing a car seat, find a fitting station near you to put your mind at ease before your trip.
Modeling positive driving behaviors is another way to reduce your risk of getting into an accident over Independence Day. Keep your speeds slow on the road to give yourself a longer reaction time to road hazards. Reduce distractions in your car by setting ground rules with your kids about volume and noise. Avoid aggressive maneuvers and look out for drivers showing dangerous driving behaviors such as swerving, drifting, speeding or driving too slow, or quickly making traffic moves. These behaviors could indicate a driver is under the influence.
Swimming is an all-time favorite summer pastime for kids that can also be one of the deadliest. More than 800 children die annually in the United States from unintentional drowning accidents, according to the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors (C.W.C.S). Approximately 54 percent of the deaths are children between the ages of 0 to 4, at the time when most children are unable or still learning to swim.
Connecticut sees about seven unintentional child drowning deaths a year. Though learning how to swim can significantly reduce your child’s chance of drowning, accidents still happen. It only takes 25 seconds for a child to drown, and unlike on T.V., they can do so without a sound.
The number one step parents can take to keep their kids safe while swimming this summer is to pay attention. Most drowning accidents happen when parents look away or lose sight of their children in the water for only a few minutes. Even if your child has a life preserver or swimming aide, never leave them alone in the water. Take additional steps to keep children safe such as gating off pools, learning C.P.R., and requiring life jackets for all children unable to swim independently.
Connecticut bans the commercial sale of all fireworks aside from sparklers and fountains, but even these products can be extremely hazardous. Sparklers, for instance, are products that kids have been waving around for decades. Yet, touching the end of one of these fiery sticks is equivalent to the same amount of heat that accumulates at the edge of a blow torch- nearly 2,000 degrees!
As exciting as they seem, children are severely and permanently injured in preventable firework accidents every Fourth of July. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 44 percent of firework injuries resulted in burns. The most injured body parts include:
- Hands and fingers (28%)
- Legs (24%)
- Eyes (19%)
- Head, faces, and ears (15%)
- Trunk & other (10%)
- Arms (4%)
Parents can avoid firework injuries completely this year by saying ‘no’ to home fireworks. There are plenty of opportunities for families to view spectacular fireworks in Connecticut this year without putting their health and safety at risk. For more information on firework shows near you, click here!
Just because you stay home to celebrate the Fourth of July does not mean you are safe from injuries. Backyard barbecues are full of opportunities for kids to sustain horrific injuries, especially when parents are not paying attention.
Some of the most popular barbecue mishaps parents should watch for this year include:
- Grill injuries: Unattended grills and quick hands can leave children with severe burns. Never walk away from an open frill leave a grill, especially when children are present. Keep your kids far from the grill when someone is cooking or have a designated person to supervise the kids if you are the grill master of the party.
- Food poisoning: Raw meats and food that has been sitting out all day can make kids sick- but they don’t care! Keep an eye out for your kids around uncooked meats by the grill to make sure they are not touching or sampling. If you see food that has been sitting out in the hot sun or for an extended period of time, throw it out or store it away before kids have a chance to try it.
- House fires: Kids can easily start a fire playing with the grill, with fireworks, or other flammable materials when unsupervised at a party. Parents can reduce this risk by keeping all flammable materials out of reach and guarding any appliances (stoves, grills) that produce flames and heat.
- Heat stroke: Young children generally will not stop playing if they feel too hot. Parents should be looking for signs of dehydration and overheating throughout the day. Check in with your kids and mandate cool-down breaks to reduce their risk of harmful heat illnesses.
- Sports injuries: Backyard sports games always pose a risk of injuries for kids. Make sure your kids know how to play safely and wear protective gear when playing contact sports.
Connecticut Accident Attorneys
As community safety advocates, our team at Jacobs & Wallace wishes everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend! Plan ahead, stay alert and don’t take a risk with your family’s health this holiday.
If you or a loved has been injured in an accident due to the negligent acts of someone else, you may be eligible to receive compensation for any damages suffered. Contact our expert team of personal injury attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace for a free consultation to explore your options.