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Reminders for a safe and healthy 4th of July

Posted by Dr. Claire McCarthy  July 3, 2013 11:59 AM

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fireworks.jpgMy kids love the 4th of July--they get to be outside, we go to a parade, there's usually some sort of family party, and, of course, there's the fireworks.

As you plan your day tomorrow, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that the only memories you have are good ones:

Please be careful around fireworks (let's just get that one done with). I'm not so worried about the ones we'll go watch in Wakefield. But I am a bit concerned about the ones that our neighbors usually set off in their yard. Thousands of people end up in emergency rooms every year from injuries. Even sparklers can do damage. Use some common sense, folks. The Consumer Products Safety Commission website has all sorts of useful information about firework safety that can help.

Use sunscreen, and reapply frequently. The second part is particularly important. We tend to remember to put it on as we leave the house or arrive at the beach or park, but we often forget to reapply it. Even if you're not swimming, pull it out every couple of hours or so. To check your sunscreen smarts, read my recent post.

Don't forget bug spray. They've found West Nile in mosquitoes in the state, and it's prime time for tick bites too. My post from last year has everything you need to know.

Review safety in public places. Here in Boston we're all a bit anxious after the Marathon bombings, especially since apparently the plan had been to set off the bomb at the Esplanade. We have no reason to think there is any public safety threat to anyone who heads down there for the concert and fireworks, especially given all the precautions the city is taking. But whenever you go to a crowded public event, you need to be careful. Mostly, make sure your kids know to stay close to you, and talk about what to do/where to meet if you get separated (when my kids were little I always dressed them in very bright colors so I could spot them quickly in crowds). Watch out for cars and other safety hazards, and follow all the posted rules. They are there for a reason.

Hydrate. It's supposed to be hot. Drink water, avoid caffeine (even caffeine-free sodas aren't a great idea, as they have sodium which just makes you thirstier). Speaking of drinking...

Make safe choices about alcohol. I know, this is a duh thing. But again, every year there are accidents, some of them tragic. Pick your designated driver, decide and stick to your drinking limits. Keep your family safe and set a good example at the same time.

I know these seem really obvious--but sometimes it's the obvious things we take for granted and don't think about carefully enough. So spend a few minutes thinking about them. You'll be healthier, safer, and happier if you do.

Is there something you'd like me to write about? Leave me a message on my Facebook page--and "like" the page for links to all my MD Mama blogs as well as my blogs on Thriving and Huffington Post. 
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About MD Mama

Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician and Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children's Hospital . An assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior editor for Harvard More »

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