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An Accident-Free Holiday

It's that time of year - parades, fireworks and barbecues. As you're celebrating the 4th of July, there are certain precautionary measures you can take to enjoy the festivities without compromising your safety. Jane Hoffman, the New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner, offered some tips to prevent injuries while traveling, cooking or enjoying the outdoors.


If travel is part of your 4th of July, make sure to pack supplies such as snacks, water, a first aid kit and any medicines your child takes.

To prevent a breakdown on the side of the road, check your oil, your transmission/power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant levels, tire pressure, headlights.

Make sure to buckle you and your child up when on the road. Did you know that 500 lives per year could be saved and 56,000 injuries could be prevented with the proper use of child restraints? Always use a car seat, starting with your baby's first ride home from the hospital. Help your child form a lifelong habit of buckling up.


Harmful bacteria may be present in foods and they grow faster during the hotter more humid summer months. Cookouts and picnics can be carefree as long as you handle food properly.

Always wash your hands before you handle any food and immediately after handling raw meat, fish or poultry.

Return leftovers to your cooler as quickly as possible. Food can go bad in as little as one hour if left out in he summer heat.

Once food is in the oven or on the grill, it should stay there until done to a safe temperature. Partial cooking of foods allows bacteria to survive and multiply to the point that subsequent cooking cannot destroy them.

To prevent barbecuing accidents the following are some helpful tips:

Be careful when dealing with the flammable liquid so you don't burn yourself. Always keep a level, steady container of water close by in case someone gets splashed or the fire gets out of control.

Don't forget that if you pour water on the fire it can smoke. Don't throw away damp charcoal because it can spontaneously combust. Don't add starter fluid to the grill if it's already lit, because the fluid gives off poisonous gas. Also, grilling on a wood deck is dangerous because if it tips over, it can catch on fire.

Always keep kids away from the barbecue, and have the barbecue on one side against some non-flammable building with at least two feet behind it. You may want to put up a rope or a barrier around the grill so kids can't get that close to it. Also, always keep a first aid kit in your house.


If you are going to enjoy the festivities in the outdoors, make sure scented soaps, perfumes, or hair sprays are avoided. Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom. If a child does get stung remove a stinger by pinching it out with a pair of tweezers or your finger.


Sparklers accoun for 70 percent of the accidents, and 3/4 of all fireworks-related accidents occur on July 4th. Sparklers are the worst because they are designed to burn really hot and can reach temperatures of 1800 degrees, so they stay hot long after they burn out.

Children are involved in more than 50 percent of all fireworks accidents, and 72 percent of fireworks victims are male. Many fireworks accidents are eye related, and if you think you got touched by a firework or feel something in your eye, go to the emergency room immediately.

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