Keep your family safe this July 4th!
We Virginians are patriotic, and we love to celebrate Independence Day. It’s a great time to get together with friends and family and enjoy outdoor activities, like picnics, swimming, parades, and fireworks.
Celebrating Independence Day is fun, but it’s also one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. The combination of drinking, driving, water sports, and fireworks leads to hundreds of fatalities and thousands of emergency room visits annually.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure your kids – and any other kids you know –always have adult supervision, especially on playgrounds, around barbecues and bonfires, near the water, and when they’re playing near roads.
Here are more tips for you and your family to help everyone stay safe during the summer holidays.
1. Drive extra defensively this July 4th
The stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” of the year. More teens driving, more tourists in town, and more drunk drivers all contribute to an increase in car accidents during the summer months, and all three of these factors are at work on July 4th.
More than 600 traffic fatalities happened during the July 4th weekend in a recent year. It’s a dangerous time to be on the road. People attending daytime parties may start drinking early in the day, and they may lose track of how many drinks they’ve had when it’s hot outside.
These tips can help you and your loved ones stay safer when you’re out on the road:
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Remind your teens about safe driving habits.
- Avoid texting and other types of distracted driving, and remind others.
- Make sure there are no underage drinkers at your party.
- Monitor your guests and call an Uber or find a safe driver for them if they’ve had too much to drink.
- Plan ahead yourself so you’ll always have a designated driver or a way home if you’re going to drink.
- Be especially careful about obeying the speed limit and other traffic laws.
- Be on the lookout for drivers who may run red lights or traffic signals.
- Make sure everyone with you is wearing a seatbelt.
- Be extra careful when driving at night during the summer holidays. More drivers on the road and more drivers under the influence create a dangerous situation.
2. Be proactive with firework safety.
Every year, people are seriously harmed or killed by fireworks. Common injuries include facial disfigurement, blindness, and loss of fingers. Most fireworks injuries happen during the 4th of July weekend, and kids and teens are the most likely people to be harmed.
In Virginia, it’s illegal to possess, sell, or use fireworks that explode or travel laterally, and you’re not allowed to send burning projectiles into the air. Make sure to use only fireworks that stay on the ground, such as “fountains” and “pinwheels.”
These tips will help keep everyone safer when using fireworks:
- Don’t light fireworks after you have been drinking.
- Make sure children are separated from fireworks and closely watched.
- Only light fireworks in an open space.
- Make sure there are no flammable substances near your fireworks.
- Have a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit ready.
- Soak fireworks before putting them in the trash.
- Never point fireworks toward people.
- Light one firework at a time, and move away quickly.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Don’t try to reignite a “dud” firework that doesn’t go off.
3. Boat wisely.
Whether you’re going out on the bay or you’re just relaxing around the pool, keep a close eye on children at all times around the water. Boating and water activities are a major cause of death and injuries, especially in the summer months and during parties.
Be sure to follow these boating safety tips:
- Make sure children under 14 wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times.
- Make sure the boat has enough PFDs for everyone on board.
- Make sure you or the boat driver has a license.
- Never operate a vessel while drinking.
- Never drive a boat at unsafe speeds.
- Never go faster than five mph in a “no wake” zone.
- Never leave the helm unattended.
- Eliminate tripping hazards on the boat.
4. Be careful around pools and other bodies of water.
Summer brings lots of pool parties. These tips will help everyone stay safe around pools, rivers, and other bodies of water:
- Never leave children unattended near pools or water. During a party, it’s a great idea to designate a few adults just to watch the children in and near the water at all times. It’s easy for adults to get distracted at parties, so you may want to ask grown-ups to take turns being “on duty.”
- Make sure that pool barriers are at least 48 inches above the ground and 48 inches higher than above-ground pools.
- Make sure pool gates open outward from the pool area and are self-closing and self-latching.
- All doors and operable windows with a sill height of fewer than 48 inches high near a pool must be equipped with an audible alarm.
- Post pool or water safety rules and go over them with your kids and guests.
- Never swim alone or allow others to do so.
- Don’t allow children and others to run in the pool or dock area.
- Caution children and adults to stay away from pool drains.
- If you live on the water, you may not have all of these physical safeguards in place. So, make sure some adults are designated to watch kids at all times who are in or near the water or shoreline.
Our law firm wants to help keep our neighbors safe
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we want our neighbors to stay safe all year round. But we consider a calling to help people who’ve been injured by the careless actions of others.
We’ll file a claim against anyone whose negligent behavior injured you or a loved one. And with our Zero Fee Guarantee, you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Call (804) 413-6777 to learn more today.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.