Independence Day
Celebrate Safely

Leisure Pursuits


40846531 - mini beef burgers with american flag on wooden backgound,selective focusIf you’re one of the lucky Americans who lives close enough to a parade to enjoy it live, you’re going to want to take a few special precautions. The American Heart Association has a few great tips for celebrating safely:

  • Wear hats and sunscreen (at least SPF 15), which you should apply every two hours.
  • Arrive early before the beginning of the parade to avoid peak afternoon heat.
  • Wear cool, comfortable clothing to avoid overheating.
  • Be aware of the signs of heat stroke and anything else you or a loved one may need to keep an eye on.

If you’re one of the thousands of people who will enjoy a parade on TV, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your day as well.

  • When selecting snack foods, choose healthy alternatives and be aware of any allergies your guests may have.
  • Invite the neighbors! The 4th of July is a great holiday to meet the people near you.
  • Since you may have guests over, take this opportunity to check your home’s first aid kit to ensure it is stocked and up-to-date.
  • Get some training in first aid and CPR so you can be ready for almost anything.

Read the CDC’s article, “Celebrating the Fourth of July: Be Healthy, Be Prepared,” for more useful tips.


Whether you’re grilling with friends and family at a local park, or enjoying something more intimate in your own backyard, there are a few Rules for Safer Grilling you should consider before getting started.

  • Wash your hands and all food surfaces often. Food-borne illnesses spread through bacteria that can live almost anywhere. Don’t take any chances. Use warm, soapy water to keep you and everything your food touches as safe as possible.
  • Avoid cross contamination. Keep raw foods away from cooked foods to maintain a healthy eating environment.
  • Cook food until it’s done. Fish, beef, pork, veal and lamb steaks, roasts and chops should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground beef and eggs should hit 160. And poultry should be at least 165 degrees.

These are just a few ways you can ensure you and your guests enjoy a safe, delicious 4th of July picnic. For more safety and health tips, take a look at “BBQ Tips to Reduce Your Cancer Risk,” and, “Healthy Sides for Your Next Picnic or BBQ,” from UnitedHealthcare.

And if you’re looking for recipes, The American Heart Association has a few great ones, like Picnic Cole Slaw, Ham & Corn Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, and Strawberry Jicama Salad. Yum!

8509243 - sparkler and usa flag showing 4th of julyFireworks

Perhaps one of the most time-honored 4th of July traditions, fireworks are also the most dangerous. An average of 200 Americans are sent to the emergency room due to fireworks around the holiday, and fires (2 out of 5 of which are firework-related) increase dramatically around this time. Safety is the key to avoiding such incidents.

Most professionals agree that the safest way to enjoy fireworks… is to let the professionals handle them. While it can be tempting to play with them, fireworks are dangerous. Even sparklers are not a safe substitute for “oohs and aahs.”

Once you’ve settled on a place to enjoy a fireworks display, remember this key piece of safety equipment: earplugs. By wearing earplugs you’ll still be able to enjoy the visuals, without the deafening, potentially ear-harming booms that come with them. Some areas have radio programs that sync fireworks with a musical score, in which case headphones can pull double duty.

As you spend this Independence Day celebrating the many, wonderful freedoms our country affords, do it safely. Before taking part in any activity, it’s a good idea to check with your physician to make sure you’re ready and able for all the fun this day can afford you. Have fun, eat well, and enjoy your time with loved ones!