On July 4th, 1776, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, a monumental moment that marked the birth of our nation as a free country. Now, the Fourth of July is a time of friends and family, barbeques, celebration, and of course, fireworks.
Unfortunately, however, the Fourth of July is also a time of injuries and hospital visits.
Ohio’s law on fireworks allows purchase of fireworks in the state, but buyers cannot use them in Ohio and must take them out of the state within 48 hours of purchase.
While many may think that large fireworks are the most dangerous fireworks, novice fireworks (such as sparklers and smoke bombs) account for the most firework-related injuries.
Because they burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, sparklers can easily cause severe burns upon contact with skin. Additionally, because sparklers are often used in a manner like waving them around, they can just as easily hit an object or person. Parents should not give their children sparklers due to such risks.
For those living outside of Ohio and able to use them, setting fireworks off can result in severe burn injuries and amputations if handled improperly. Never light a firework while holding it, as it can explode before it is thrown. Rather, set it on the ground, light it, and step away from it quickly.
The safest way to avoid firework injuries is to not handle fireworks at all. Instead, let professionals do the work while you enjoy the show from a distance.
The Fourth of July is one of the worst days for car accidents. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that from 2010-2014, an average of 118.4 lives were lost from car accidents on July 4th – nearly 30% more than the average day!
Part of the problem comes from the amount of intoxicated drivers. Nearly 41% of fatal July 4th car accidents involved at least one driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. You can avoid drunk driving by appointing a designated driver and limiting how much you drink at a party.
Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and to lower your blood alcohol level.
Distracted and fatigued driving is another cause of accidents on the 4th of July. Drivers may be distracted by other fireworks while driving and take their eyes off the road. Additionally, drivers may be too tired from a long day of celebration to provide the attention required to safely drive home.
If you feel distracted or tired while driving, pull over and take a 15-minute nap. Even a short sleep can refresh you and make you more alert for your drive home.
Pool Accidents and Food Poisoning
While injuries from pool accidents and food poisoning are less frequent than car and firework accidents, it is always important to be safe and take caution when swimming and cooking food.
Although a nice swim in the pool may be refreshing on the hot summer day, make sure to avoid diving into shallow water and running by the poolside. Furthermore, you should avoid drinking while swimming to prevent accidental drowning or water injury.
Barbeques are a fun way to celebrate the holiday. However, make sure the meat is cooked thoroughly to avoid consuming undercooked meat. Don’t let preventable injuries ruin your 4th of July. Make sure to follow the proper safety precautions to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible. If you or a loved one suffers an injury from another person’s negligence, contact my offices immediately.
As your official Ohio personal injury attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll make them pay!
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373