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Attention Alabama: Stay safe this Independence Day weekend | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

The Fourth of July is almost here, and with the holiday falling on a Tuesday, many folks are preparing for an extra-long weekend of fun.

Whether you are driving to the lake, the beach or the mountains, or keeping it close to enjoy backyard cookouts and fireworks with friends and family, here are some tips to help you celebrate Independence Day and all the weekend’s festivities safely.

Safety on the road

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is helping clear the way for smooth traveling during the holiday weekend, with no temporary lane closures scheduled from noon June 30 until midnight July 4. Here’s what the ALDOT experts advise while traveling on Alabama roads this weekend:

Buckle up – Seatbelts reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash. And those of you traveling with children, make sure they are safely positioned in the right car seat. Learn best practices regarding child restraints here.

Make sure the kids are in the right safety seat. (NHTSA)

Eliminate distractions – Keep your focus on the road by avoiding distractions such as texting, scrolling or talking on the phone. Drivers should never text, tweet, or use a mobile device while operating a vehicle.

Avoid impaired driving – Never get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other substances that impair driving.

Slow down – Speeding increases the likelihood of serious or fatal crashes and reduces the driver’s ability to react to the unexpected. Slow it down this weekend.

Use ALDOT’s travel tools – Find Alabama traffic and road condition information, including live traffic camera feeds, at algotraffic.com or by downloading the ALGO Traffic app.

When it’s time for fireworks …

Know the law – Check to make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only buy legal fireworks labeled with the manufacturer’s name.

Know the dangers and protect yourself and others – Only use fireworks outdoors and make sure people are standing far away. Always point fireworks away from houses, trees, cars, shrubbery and especially other people. Light one firework at a time and never relight a “dud.” Wear eye protection.

Keep kids safe from fireworks this holiday weekend. (contributed)

Keep the hose handy – Have a bucket of water or water hose nearby. And a fire extinguisher, if possible. Soak used or unignited fireworks in the bucket before throwing them away.

Be extra careful with the kids – Never allow children to pick up fireworks from the ground; unexploded fireworks may still ignite. Sparklers can burn as hot as 2,000 degrees; keep them away from face, hair and clothing.

Grilling safely …

Keep others away – Only use your grill outside. Maintain at least a 3-foot safety zone around your grill to keep kids and pets safe and avoid hazardous contact with deck rails, siding and eaves.

Coal disposal – Place the coals from your grill in a metal can with a lid once they have cooled.

Cooking with gas – Always open your gas grill before lighting. And clean the grill after each use to remove grease that can start a fire.

Fun on or in the water …

Swimming safely – Anywhere there’s water, there is a danger of drowning. Never swim alone. An adult must always watch children closely; this means no reading, talking on the phone or texting. An adult should be within arm’s reach of infants, toddlers and weaker swimmers.

Be safe in or on the water this July 4 holiday. (contributed)

Before you dive – Make sure you know how deep the water is. It is never OK to dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

Boating checklist – Make sure your boat is in good working order before taking it out for the first time and that all required equipment is onboard. Make sure all life jackets are in good condition. Life jackets must be worn by children younger than 8 years old and by anyone on a personal watercraft or being towed on skis or a tube.

Obey the limits – Pay attention to your boat’s speed and its capacity – if it says 10 people max, respect that limit. Pay attention to speed limits and no-wake signs.

Be aware of others – Stay alert for other boaters and what they are doing around you. For more boating safety tips, check here.

For more information about keeping your family safe, all year long, visit the National Safety Council’s Community Safety page.


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