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How to have fun at your next summer get together without making a trip to the ER.

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Summer is a time to get together with friends and family while enjoying the great outdoors. But before you plan your next backyard BBQ, you should take a few precautions.

Visits to hospital emergency departments spike about 15% – 30% during the summer months. And a trip to the emergency room can quickly ruin summer fun. These 5 tips can help you and your guests have a good time while staying safer.

Summer Safety Tips:

  • Grill safely. Each year, about 7,000 people are injured using barbecue grills. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, check your grill for gas leaks and clean it regularly to avoid flare-ups. Grill at least 10 feet away from structures, furniture, umbrellas or outdoor decor. Don’t wear clothing that can dangle near flames. And be prepared to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby – never use water to put out a grease fire.
  • Keep food from spoiling. Food left out in the sun and heat can make you sick. The hotter it is, the faster it spoils. Keep cold food well chilled (41°F or below) and hot food hot (use chafing dishes and canned heat). Don’t eat food that’s been sitting out too long. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Stay hydrated. Summer heat increases the chance of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Help your guests stay hydrated by offering plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages. As a general rule of thumb, aim to drink at least 8 glasses (64 ounces) of fluids daily. Limit alcohol which can add to dehydration.
  • Use fireworks carefully. Thousands of people are treated in hospital emergency rooms as a result of fireworks each year. Even sparklers pose a danger, accounting for about 16% of reported fireworks injuries. When using fireworks, obey local fireworks laws, wear safety glasses, light only one at a time and keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Be vigilant near water. Never leave children unattended near water, whether you’re having a pool party or have a kiddie pool in the backyard for cooling off. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in children age 14 and younger. If you’re having a pool party, hire a lifeguard as an added precaution.

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Date Last Reviewed: June 21, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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