By Robert Lucke
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, Heidi Bischoff, R.S. with the Hill County Health Department has some safety tips.
The first is about the safe handling of picnic foods.
"Don't cool foods like watermelon, pop and beer in the creek because they can come in contact with Giardia. Instead, seal these items in plastic bags and then place them in the creek to cool," Bischoff said. "Barbecue burgers until the juices run clear, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, wash all vegetables and fruits well, and cool hot foods from 140 F to 40 F within four hours."
Bischoff has some picnic packing tips.
"Pack foods directly from the fridge to the cooler, and pack raw meats in separate coolers away from cooked foods," Bischoff recommends. "Pack coolers well with ice, re-ice coolers stored in hot trunks or the back of pickups often, and install thermometers in the top of each cooler to monitor temps. It is also good to pack foods and drinks that are used more frequently in a separate cooler from foods used less often."
Don't overlook firework safety, Bischoff said.
Tips are to buy only from reliable sources, read and follow instructions, use outdoors only, have an adult present, never relight a "dud" firework, never light fireworks in metal or glass containers, never throw fireworks at people or animals, don't wear loose clothing when lighting fireworks, don't hold fireworks when lighting them, and dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and then placing them in the garbage.
Sometimes people don't recognize hazards right in front of them, Bischoff said. Take trampolines, for instance.
"There were 83,400 children injured on tramps in 1996 and six children died from 1990 until 1996," she stated. "Accidents occur usually when two kids collide or when kids fall from trampolines. Most injuries are bone fractures, but some are permanent spinal cord injuries."
It is important to have multiple spotters, install safety nets, and limit children's jumping height, Bischoff recommended.