4th of July Safety Prep for Caregivers

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BBQs with the whole family – from aging parents down to those tiny grandkids of ours, parades, 5k runs, community carnivals, and, of course, firework displays are just some of the fun things we associate with the 4th of July. When it’s the birthday for the USA, many of us enjoy going all out. But at the same time we are having a great time of fun, we also need to make sure we are having a safe time of fun! And we need to make sure our elderly parents and young grandkids are safe as well.

According to the California State Fire Marshall, severe burns, amputations, blindness,and, in some cases, deaths are often the result of 4th of July celebrations. That would take all the fun out out of the holiday for years to come! What can we do to have safe and fun firework displays and help our aging parents and our grandkids do the same?

As much as is possible for you:

  • If you are in an area where fireworks are allowed, and you are shooting off your own, use ONLY the legal, safe and sane ones. To find out if you are in a legal area for fireworks, you can probably check the website for your city or call your local fire department. If they are allowed be sure you:
  • Read all the directions carefully and follow them just as carefully.
  • Make sure there is an adult present whenever the fireworks are being lit.
  • Have a bucket and hose close by. We even liked to hose down as much of the area as possible. Granted, it’s usually so hot it dries almost as fast as we do it, but every little bit helps.
  • Make sure the fireworks are only lit outside – in a safe area away from grass, bushes, and brush. Make sure, also, that the elderly adults and the tiny grandkids are sitting in an area where they can see well, yet not too close.
  • If you get a dud, toss it! Don’t try to relight it. Don’t play games with them, experiment with them, nail them onto things, etc. Do it just the way they’re supposed to be done.
  • Don’t throw them or point them at anyone else, not even sparklers.
  • Don’t let the little grandkids light the fireworks.
  • Don’t forget to put your pets in a safe place inside, preferably where they will hear as little noise as possible. Also, make sure they have IDs on their collars just in case they make a run for it!
  • Make sure everyone, from grandma to toddler grandchild, is wearing shoes of some type so no one accidentally steps on something hot.

If you aren’t allowed to have firework displays or don’t want to deal with them yourself, check your local newspaper or your surrounding cities’ websites for community firework displays. Most areas have at least one or two and they are usually great fun!

As one who has a couple of young grandkids who get scared at the loud pops, we’ve learned that if you also have elderly parents or very young grandkids who are bothered too much by the noise, you might want to set the TV to a fun 4th of July concert or movie. That way they have an easy option for retreat if they’d like it.  If you have aging parents who live alone and aren’t close enough to join you, it would be an excellent idea to make sure their batteries are current in any alarm systems they use, such as smoke alarms and any personal senior alarm they are wearing.

Being prepared generally makes any occasion much more fun and the 4th is no exception. So let’s plan ahead and enjoy the upcoming festivities with our senior parents, young grandkids, and everyone in-between in a safe and fun way!

The Wright Stuff
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