The 4th of July is a time for family cookouts and summer fun, but it’s also a common time for injuries. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, shares her tips for avoiding the ER over the holiday. 

How common are injuries on 4th of July?

Nurse Rose: In 2014 there were 230 emergency department visits and nine deaths counting ONLY those related to fireworks on and around July 4 throughout the U.S. As an Emergency Department nurse myself, I can tell you it’s well-know that accidents occur over any holiday weekend, but the 4th of July tends to bring with it more injuries than other holidays.

Why might more accidents occur over July 4th?

Nurse Rose: There’s a big jump in injuries on the 4th of July for a number of reasons, including the following.

  • Handling fireworks or sparklers improperly
  • Drunk driving after parties and BBQs
  • Food poisoning at cookouts
  • Heat stroke and exhaustion

How can we stay safe over the holiday?

Nurse Rose: Accidents happen, but there are some preventive measures that you can take to keep you and your family safe. Try these simple tips.

  • Never give fireworks or sparklers to small children
  • Leave fireworks to the professionals
  • If you do light fireworks, NEVER point them at other people and walk away quickly after lighting it.
  • If using fireworks or sparklers, keep water close by
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold
  • Do not leave perishable food outside for more than an hour in hot weather
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade or air conditioning to avoid heat exhaustion

As always, if you or a loved one suffers a serious injury, call 9-11.

Need medical care fast? Adventist HealthCare has you covered with three Emergency Departments and three Urgent Care Centers in Montgomery and Prince George’s County.


Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.