Rhode Island is home to many attractions and is a destination for many families who plan to partake in festivities on the Fourth of July. Celebrations this year are expected to be bigger than usual since the holiday falls on a weekend.
Whether you are partial to firework shows, enjoying a day at the pool with your family or grilling up your favorite cuts of meat, it’s important to keep safety in mind when celebrating this Independence Day.
The hazards posed by many summer celebrations are far more common than most people realize. Minimize the following four dangers and keep your family safe from harm this Fourth of July.
Burns and Severe Firework Injuries
Fireworks are the first thing that comes to mind when many of us think of the Fourth of July. Since 2010, some consumer fireworks have been legal in the state of Rhode Island. It is important to know, however, the definition of a legal firework according to the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety. These include ground and hand-held sparkling devices that produce a shower of white gold, or colored sparkles. Additional effects may include a colored flame, a crackling sound, a whistle and smoke. These devices do not rise in the air, do not launch anything into the air, and do not explode or make a bang.
This means that most ground-based fireworks are approved unless they violate the criteria described above. Even though these types of fireworks are legal in Rhode Island, it is extremely important to never let children handle fireworks. Adults must be very cautious when lighting and handling them.
Common firework injuries seen in emergency rooms on the Fourth of July include severe eye injuries, burns and even tragic accidental amputations. Many of the victims are children. Never give your child a sparkler as these can cause injuries and fires. Glow sticks may be a good substitute for sparklers, just ensure that they are not a choking hazard and that the child cannot access the substance inside.
Drowning and Burn Hazards at Parties
Backyard cookouts and swimming parties are an important part of many Fourth of July celebrations. Although they are a lot of fun, it is important to keep safety in mind when grilling and swimming.
Propane – the gas often used for grilling – is highly flammable and can explode if not handled properly. There are number of safe ways to check your propane tank for a leak prior to exposing it to an open flame. This should be done routinely.
If you are already grilling and have reason to believe that the propane tank may be leaking, move away from the grill immediately. Never try to handle a leaking tank that is exposed to an open flame. Call the fire department immediately.
If there is a pool at your house or the house you are visiting, always ensure that someone is actively watching the swimmers. Many drownings occur with plenty of people nearby. It is best to appoint one person who is not consuming alcohol to be on watch at all times, particularly when children are in or near the pool.
Since alcohol is a part of many Fourth of July festivities, there is a greater likelihood of encountering drunk drivers on the road. Drunk driving is the cause of many injuries and deaths every year.
Never ride with someone who has been drinking and assign a designated driver so that you don’t have to worry about it later in the evening. If you are hosting a party with alcohol, make sure your guests have a safe ride home.
Drowsy driving is another serious problem during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. With more people on the road and staying up late, there are more drowsy drivers on the road. Get plenty of rest before hitting the road and take a break if you get sleepy while driving. It’s better to arrive late than not at all.
Boating and Water Sports
Boating and water sports are extremely popular pastimes in Rhode Island around Independence Day and throughout the summer. It is important to follow common-sense safety rules in order to avoid becoming a victim of boating or water sport injuries.
According to the CDC, an average of nearly 350 people are killed every year in boating-related accidents, and 88 percent of those deaths involve drowning. Whether you are participating in water sports or boating, always wear a life vest. Ensure that anyone taking part in the activity has not been drinking, as this can greatly contribute to the likelihood of an accident.
If you’re injured by someone else’s negligence this Fourth of July holiday, contact Rhode Island’s Trusted Personal Injury Attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush to discuss your legal rights and options. We provide free case reviews to victims with potential personal injury claims. Call us at 855-801-6262 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.