The need to plan for Fourth of July safety has never been greater. Many Connecticut residents have been bottled up inside or playing it safe at get-togethers the last few years due to fear of spreading COVID-19. Now that life has returned to pre-pandemic activity levels, patrons of this summer holiday are ready to let loose.
While Independence Day is one of the most exciting and patriotic holidays of the year, it’s also the deadliest. The National Safety Council (N.S.C.) reports that the weekend surrounding July 4th has the highest accident statistics of any other holiday on the road and at home. Here are some of the most common risks your family should prepare for to keep everyone safe this holiday weekend.
Over the July 4th weekend, drivers have a 20% higher chance of getting into an accident than at any other time of the year. Based on road trends from previous years, the N.S.C. estimates 462 people may lose their lives on American roads this weekend from preventable accidents.
Independence Day is one of the riskiest holidays on the road, equally affecting drivers, occupants, cyclists, and pedestrians. Some of the risk factors leading to these holiday tragedies include:
- Seatbelt Use: Not wearing a seat belt is the number one cause of traffic fatalities when accidents occur. Buckle up whenever you enter a car as a passenger or a driver. If there are not enough seatbelts for everyone in the vehicle, don’t take a chance– find another ride.
- Drunk Driving: The uptick in alcohol consumption over the Fourth of July is significant, leading to hundreds of unnecessary deaths yearly. Always drive sober or ride with a sober driver. Remember: Tipsy driving is impaired driving and can still cause your judgment on the road to be
- Speeding and Reckless Driving: Speeding is a precursor to more than 25% of traffic fatalities, especially over a holiday weekend. Additionally, Connecticut has seen a recent uptick in reckless driving, causing traffic fatalities throughout the year to skyrocket. Slow down and follow all local traffic laws to keep others safe on the road. Give yourself enough time to accelerate, brake, turn, and switch lanes without putting others at risk.
- Driving Distractions: Between festivals, parades, celebrations, and firework displays, there are plenty of opportunities to get your eyes pulled from the road this holiday weekend. Make sure if you are driving to keep your eyes on the road. Put your phone away, turn the radio down, and cut down on chatter inside the vehicle to ensure you are limiting the number of distractions.
Firework shows and displays are the grand finales of most Fourth of July celebrations and one of the most dangerous. The National Fire Protection Association reports thousands of injuries every July 4th weekend related to firework accidents. Sadly, most of these injuries affect teens and children, suffering devastating burns, amputations, and in the worst cases, fatal injuries.
Most firework injuries occurring on or around the Fourth of July are burn injuries affecting the hands and fingers (28%), legs (24%), eyes (19%), head, face or ears (15%), trunk area (10%), or the arms (4%).
Avoid lighting fireworks at holiday parties and backyard barbeques to help keep your family and loved ones safe. Consider attending a local firework show where professionals are trained to operate these explosive contraptions from a distance safely. For those looking for something exciting other than fireworks, the N.F.P.A. suggests the following non-firework activities as replacements:
- Use glow sticks in place of sparklers.
- Make your own noise with noise makers, whistlers, and party blowers.
- Host an outdoor movie night where you can invite the neighbors for a different type of show.
- Spray red, white, and blue silly string.
- Make July 4th-themed crafts.
- Celebrate America’s birthday with a beautiful flag cake!
Independence Day is all about cooling off in the water, pool parties, beach parties, lake trips, and more. Sadly, whenever swimming is involved at a holiday party, the risk of drowning significantly increases. Studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) show drowning is the leading cause of death for children 0-4 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 0-17.
When it comes to preventing drowning deaths, there are several steps Connecticut residents can take to protect their loved ones this holiday. Supervision is always the first and most important safety practice. Drowning happens quickly and quietly, even when parents are standing feet away.
Parents and caregivers should always have close and sober eyes on swimming children, standing close by to react in the case of an emergency. It’s also important to note that beaches across Connecticut are experiencing a massive shortage of lifeguards, making it especially crucial to supervise children whenever you swim this holiday.
Other safety tips for preventing drowning tragedies include:
- Installing fences and self-locking gates around pools or lakefront/oceanfront property.
- Enrolling your children in swim lessons to reduce their risk of accidental drowning.
- Wearing a life jacket on a boat or near deep bodies of water.
- Limiting the number of large floats in the pool to avoid children becoming caught under.
- Avoiding night swims with children to gain a better visual of their whereabouts in and near the water.
- Supervising children in zones when groups and families are swimming together.
The Fourth of July is exciting for humans but it’s full of dangers and frightening things for pets. From picnics sporting unhealthy food to noisy fireworks to crowded celebrations, your pets may not enjoy this lively holiday as much as you think.
The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests pet owners take the following steps prior to celebrating Independence Day this weekend to keep their pets safe and healthy:
- Try to leave your pets home from holiday celebrations.
- Make sure your pets have updated identification tags in case they get lost or run away from loud noise and take a recent photo of your pet, just in case you need it.
- Consider a safe, protective crate or room to keep your pet in during active firework displays, or ask someone to watch your pet far from the action.
- Ask guests to be mindful of their pets if they are attending a gettogether at your home.
- Keep all fireworks, kabob skewers, glow sticks, charcoal, and other flammable and dangerous materials out of reach.
- Avoid feeding your pet table scraps and keep them away from hot grills.
- Sun and heat can easily dehydrate your pet. Keep lots of shade and water available when outdoors.
- Never leave your pet in the car!
We wish every Connecticut resident and family a Happy Fourth of July weekend! Have fun and stay safe.
Jacobs & Wallace Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love is injured in an accident, you need an experienced law firm to represent you. Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, has decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut’s injured victims. Please contact us today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.