Memorial Day Safety and Injury Prevention

This Memorial Day, at TOCA and around the Nation we honor those Americans who have put their lives on the line to bravely defend our country’s freedom. Each day and especially on Memorial Day we take a moment to remember the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives to protect our great Nation and hard-won freedom.

Memorial Day Safety and Injury Prevention: The first three-day holiday weekend of the summer and the unofficial “kickoff” to summer is upon us. We all have various activities scheduled for the weekend, which may include cookouts, picnics, boating, swimming, motor sports, work around the house, etc. No matter what you have planned, please make safety a part of your weekend.

DRIVING SAFETY: This weekend, 33 million Americans are expected to hit the roads, according to AAA, but more traffic means more traffic accidents.

  • Be well rested and alert, use your seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.
  • If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway on the highways.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
  • Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night. Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather. Don’t overdrive your headlights.
  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low. If you have car trouble, pull as far as possible off the highway.
  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.
  • Let someone know where you are going, your route and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

GRILLING SAFETY: Hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob; nothing says summer like grilling!

  • Ensure that the grill has been thoroughly cleaned. Dirty grills cause many injuries, particularly propane grills.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while you grill
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

WATER SAFETY: The beginning of summer also means the start of pool or beach season for many in the U.S.

  • Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.
  • Appoint someone as lifeguard, rather than assuming one of your partygoers is keeping an eye on swimmers.
  • Adults: actively supervise children; stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. And kids: follow the rules.
  • Don’t just pack it; wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision.
  • Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair – everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards.
  • Reach or throw, don’t go! Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.
  • Don’t fool with a pool: fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates.

Use Extra Caution with Fireworks: Nothing wraps up a great Memorial Day party better than a blazing fireworks display. Some towns and cities allow for select smaller fireworks to be enjoyed at home. If that’s the case, follow your local laws about what kind of fireworks are permitted.

  • Fireworks should be lit outside in an area without flammable branches or grass. Have a water hose or bucket of water handy to extinguish spent fireworks.
  • After you light a firework, get away to a safe distance. Don’t try to hold a firework in your hand after it’s lit, and do not light it into a container of any kind. Only responsible adults should light fireworks. Always ensure they are safely disposed of after the fun is over.

Stay Safe Under the Sun: There’s no better feeling than soaking in the new summer sun on Memorial Day — but don’t forget sunscreen and keep hydrated.

  • Skin can become severely burned after just a few hours in the sun, which can increase your risk of skin cancer in the long run.
  • Consider providing or looking for available shade, like umbrellas or covered picnic areas, to reduce sun exposure for yourself and your guests. A hat and sunglasses can offer extra coverage.
  • Don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen after two hours of sun exposure.
  • Drink plenty of water before, while, and after you are active. This is very important when it’s hot out and when you do intense exercise. You can drink water or rehydration drinks.
  • Encourage your child to drink extra fluids or suck on flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles.
  • Stop working outdoors or exercising if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or very tired.

Injury prevention is not only part of our mission here at TOCA, the TOCA team and physician group are dedicated to adult and youth safety. Our experts work with and in the community year-round and emphasize injury prevention over the summer and around holidays.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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