Whether you’re planning a final summer outing or staying home to wrap up summer chores, we want you and your family to enjoy a safe close to the season. To help you, we’ve gathered these helpful Labor Day weekend safety tips.
7 Safety Tips for an Injury-Free Labor Day
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1. Road-trip, anyone?
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According to the National Safety Council, around 400 deaths result from motor vehicle collisions over Labor Day Weekend.1 A notorious road-trip weekend, it’s one of the busiest on the road. If you’re planning a weekend excursion make sure you’re well rested, plan for frequent rest stops, and divide driving duties if possible.
You should also have your car checked by a registered mechanic to avoid a break down on the road. Don’t forget to pack a vehicle emergency kit that contains items like a flashlight, jumper cables, a tool kit, tire gauge and flares.
2. Festive fireworks
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Fireworks are fun, flashy and festive, but many of us overlook the injury they can cause. An estimated 15,600 fireworks injuries were treated in US emergency rooms during 2020.2 Even sparklers can inflict serious injury.
If you choose to use fireworks be sure you take some precautions:
- Only light one at a time.
- If you're using mortars, keep spectators 100 feet away from the launch area for every inch of mortar.3
- Never allow any horseplay while fireworks are being set up or ignited.
- If a firework malfunctions, don’t re-light it.
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
- Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Check out our fireworks safety guide for more tips.
3. Alcohol in moderation
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Alcohol and parties often go hand in hand, but beware that drinking impacts your decision-making, coordination, reaction time, and vision which makes you vulnerable to a number of hazards.
If you plan on consuming alcohol, set a limit on how much you will consume. And the time to set your limit is before you arrive at the neighborhood cookout. Once you set an alcohol limit, stick to it.
Drink one glass of water in between alcoholic drinks to help keep hydrated and pace your alcohol consumption. If you drink more than you planned, ask for help getting home. And keep in mind that operating a motor vehicle after just a drink or two is dangerous.
4. Boating safety
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Boating is a quintessential Labor Day event. Make sure you keep it safe by ensuring the boat is in good mechanical condition and carries all safety equipment including personal flotation devices, an emergency kit, and a first aid kit. Keep away from restricted areas, be sure that you’re familiar with the rules of the water, and tell someone on land where you’re heading and what time you expect to return.
5. Conquering outdoor chores
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Lots of us look forward to relaxing on Labor Day weekend, but if you’re tackling outdoor chores instead, we hope you’ll keep these safety tips in mind:
- Before you use any power tool make sure the cord isn’t frayed, that it is free of cuts, and appears to be in good condition.
- If you need an extension cord be sure it is designed for outdoor use.
- Be sure that the extension cord’s amperage can handle the demand of the power tool you’re using.
- Only use a ladder when there’s someone else at home.
- If you’re using a metal ladder be careful that it doesn't come into contact with an electrical source.
For more, check out these tips for keeping your home safe during repairs.
6. Prevent food-borne illnesses
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What’s a Labor Day holiday without lots of food? Picnics, barbeques, and neighborhood pot-lucks are plentiful and that means so is the chance of food-borne illness.
To minimize the chance of cross-contamination and food-borne illness, use these tips:
- Wash your hands before and after you touch raw meat.
- Dry your hands on paper towels instead of cloth towels, and discard immediately.
- Refrigerate meat that’s waiting to hit the grill.
- Never leave food that requires refrigeration (think potato salad, coleslaw, or chicken salad) out in the sun.
- Set items that need chilled on top of a pan filled with ice, and serve from a shaded area.
- Return items that need to stay cold to the refrigerator as soon as party-goers have been served.
Here are more tailgating tips.
In addition to avoiding food-borne illness, follow current CDC recommendations for cleaning surfaces and navigating social interactions to lesser the chances of coronavirus spread.
7. Hydration and sun protection
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Soda and juice might be a bit tastier, but you should hydrate your body with water instead. If you’re having a party, set out a few tubs full of bottled water and encourage your guests to drink small amounts often.
Remember the golden rule: If your urine is yellow, you’re not drinking enough water.
It’s the end of summer, but in many parts of the country, the sun is still raging. Apply sunscreen before you head out in the sun and reapply as necessary. Remember that the elderly and the young have especially sensitive skin and don’t forget that some medications can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Whether you’re splashing in a pool, enjoying the ultimate picnic, or knocking out those household chores, we want you to stay safe this Labor Day weekend. Remember: An accident is never planned. But keeping our safety tips in mind may help prevent one.
- National Safety Council, "Holiday Fatality Traffic Estimate: Labor Day." Accessed August 27, 2021.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission, "2020 Fireworks Annual Report," June 2021. Accessed August 27, 2021.
- Texas Municipal League, "Fireworks Display Safety," June 2017. Accessed August 27, 2021.