The holiday weekend is here, but as much as we all have been looking forward to spending our time off with our friends and loved ones, don’t forget to stay safe. BET.com has 10 tips to help to keep you in the clear this holiday weekend.
Drive Safely—Not only are more people on the road during the holiday weekend, but there is a higher chance of running into drunk drivers. The Red Cross advises to be well rested, alert and observe speed limits, especially in new territories. Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank to get too low and carry a disaster-supply kit in your trunk in case of a weather emergency.
Be a Safe Swimmer—Swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present, and swim with others. Never swim alone. If you are swimming with children practice “reach supervision” by keeping your arm in arm’s length of the child while they are in or around the pool, lake or ocean, the Red Cross advises.
Keep Kids Away from Fireworks—According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type. Additionally, only use fireworks outdoor and always keep water handy (a hose or bucket). Never re–light a “dud” firework. And don’t buy illegal fireworks.
Drink Plenty of Fluids—Don’t forget to drink water and plenty of fluids. This will decrease the risk of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Also, remember that alcohol can promote dehydration. If you choose to, drink in moderation.
Use Alcohol Responsibly—Have a designated driver to bring partygoers home from festivities, suggests medicinenet.com. Remember that alcohol and swimming can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.
Use Sunscreen—Wear sunscreen with a UVA/UVB protection factor of at least 15. Apply sunscreen fifteen to thirty minutes before going outside. Re-apply every two hours. Sunscreen can safely be used starting at the age of six months old, advises the UC San Diego Health System.
Review Safe Boating Practices—Approximately 17 percent of all recreational boating deaths (about 300 boat accidents and 124 fatalities each year) are a result of consuming alcohol while boating on the water. A boater with a blood alcohol level above .10 percent is about 10 times as likely to suffer fatal injuries in a boating accident as a boat operator who did not consume any alcohol, according to the Miami coast guard. Don’t drink and drive a boat. It’s dangerous and you can be arrested for a BWI (boating under the influence).
Keep Children Away From Campfires and Grills—Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. Place the grill a safe distance away from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Grills should be positioned at least 10 feet away from siding, deck railing, and out from overhanging branches. Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill, advises the U.S. Fire Administration.
Wear Insect Repellent—If you are going to spend a lot of time outside this weekend, make sure that you are alert for insects, says the American Red Cross. Use an insect repellent and follow the directions for use. After being outdoors for a long period, inspect yourself for ticks. If you have pets that go outdoors, use a repellent made for that type of pet and apply according to the label. Be sure to check your pet for ticks often.
Don't Leave Picnic Spread Out All Day—The Food Safety and Inspection Service says that bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees. Never leave food in this "danger zone" more than two hours, one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees. Cold, perishable foods like luncheon meats, cooked meats, chicken, and potato or pasta salads should be kept in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice, frozen gel packs, or containers of frozen water. Keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car, and place it in the shade or shelter, out of the sun, whenever possible.
(Photo: AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, Joe Ellis)