When it comes to the 4th of July, our focus tends to be on barbecuing, fireworks, drinking, and partying. We often don’t think about all the things that can go wrong during this important holiday.
Like what? Well, Independence Day festivities can sometimes lead to severe injuries – in fact, it’s one of the deadliest holidays around. That’s the bad news, but here’s the good: most of accidents and injuries that occur are entirely preventable.
The trick is in knowing what kind of injuries you should watch out for so that you can take proper safety precautions and be prepared. Because of this, below we are going to describe four of the most common injuries that occur and how you can avoid them.
Common Independence Day Injuries That You Can Avoid
- Car Accidents
According to National Safety Council, an estimated 466 deaths and 53,600 serious injuries occurred in motor vehicle accidents during the three-day 4th of July holiday period last year. That was an all-time record.
One of the main reason for these accidents is drunk driving. Many people make a miscalculation about their ability to drive after just a few drinks – but the fun can turn into a horrible car crash that causes life-threating injuries.
If you plan to drink, arrange for a designated driver or take a taxi home. Better yet, stay off the roads altogether if you can.
- Fireworks Injuries
Even if you do choose to stay at home, there are still potential dangers to be aware of. One of the biggest ones is the point of the holiday for many people: fireworks.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it is estimated that over 7,000 injuries related to fireworks forced people to go to emergency rooms during the 1-month special study period between June 20, 2014, and July 20, 2014. That accounts for 67 percent of all the injuries related to fireworks in that year.
What caused these people to get hurt? The vast majority of the injuries were due to user error. In other words, people were careless when setting off their fireworks. That’s why it’s so important to follow recommended precautions. Don’t get caught up in the fun and forget the potential danger, particularly where children or alcohol are involved.
Generally, injuries related to fireworks can be divided into two groups: hands and finger injuries and eye injuries. These types of injuries tend to occur due to improper handling of fireworks. Read the handling instructions of fireworks closely, and always supervise children – even when they’re only using sparklers.
Another reason for eye injuries is that people do not keep the proper safe distance from fireworks while they are going off. According to American Academy of Ophthalmology, “fireworks can break the inner alignment of the eye, causing thermal and chemical burns, retinal detachment and corneal abrasions.”
You never know what will directly hit you in the eye and leave you permanently blind. Bottom line: keep fireworks as far from your eyes and face as possible and point them away as well.
- Heat Stroke
The hot summer months may be ideal for picnics, barbecues, and pool parties, but when someone stays in the sun too long, they can be at risk for dehydration and heat stroke.
If you feel weak, faint, confused, dizzy, or have a headache, step into the shade and grab a water. Pay close attention to the young and elderly, who are at increased risk, as well as people who are drinking alcohol. Alcohol can make you dehydrated on its own, so combined with the summer heat, it can pose an even more serious risk to your health.
- Swimming Injuries
Swimming is another activity that does not mix well with alcohol. Unfortunately, the 4th of July holiday weekend tends to bring an increase in the number of pool parties and gatherings around beaches, lakes, and other bodies of water. When people become drunk and swim, they make poor judgement calls that can result in serious injury – or even death.
Of course, children are also very much at risk. One of the biggest reasons – because the adults are too busy having fun.
Don’t let the fun distract your attention. It is important that all young swimmers are properly supervised. Make sure an adult – or several adults – are keeping an eye on things at all times.
Sometimes, even if you’re doing everything you can to stay safe and keep your loved ones from harm, another’s negligence can lead to injuries. If someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior causes you injury this holiday, do not hesitate to get in touch with our office as soon as possible.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.