Your Memorial Day barbecue is the unofficial start of the summer season. Make the most of this warm-weather celebration with a few Memorial Day safety tips from the safety experts at UPMC.
1. Pool Safety: Keep an Eye on Swimmers
Hopefully, the last Monday in May is warm enough to take a dip in your swimming pool or local lake. You should always supervise weaker swimmers around water. Try appointing someone as lifeguard, rather than assuming one of your partygoers is keeping an eye on swimmers. Make sure younger children are within arm’s reach in the pool, and never drink alcohol while swimming or supervising swimmers.
Keep a watchful eye on drink coolers. As the ice melts, these items can become a drowning hazard for curious toddlers who look in the cooler and are unable to get themselves out.
2. 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.
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. Also, consider providing 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.
3. Fire and Grill Safety for Your Meal
Hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob: These summertime staples are traditionally cooked up on a grill outside.
But before you break out the grill, make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned. Dirty grills cause many injuries, particularly propane grills. Keep items that you don’t want grilled away from the flame, and don’t wear loose clothing while you grill.
After your barbecue is over, make sure coals are completely out, and the propane is turned off.
4. Drink Responsibly on Memorial Day
Alcohol might be a part of your Memorial Day celebration. If so, decide in advance how much alcohol you are going to be drinking, and stick to your plan.
The National Institutes of Health advises men from age 21 to 65 to have no more than four drinks in a day. Women should have no more than three, according to the institutes.
If you are driving to your Memorial Day party, do not drink and drive. Elect a designated driver or find alternate transportation home.
Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, which can be worsened by an afternoon in the sun. Consume plenty of water in addition to your beverage of choice and don’t drink on an empty stomach.
5. 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.