HOUSTON (July 02, 2015)

July Fourth is the most popular day of the year for grilling, when more than 70 percent of Americans break out the BBQ for their celebrations of freedom. To ensure those celebrations stay safe, Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center has some important injury prevention tips to keep in mind while grilling those burgers and hot dogs:

  • Avoid cleaning your grill with a wire brush – the metal bristles can break off and get cooked into the food. If ingested, the bristles can cause serious internal injury to your throat, stomach or intestines. Another, safer solution is to use a coil brush that does not have bristles or crumpled aluminum foil to scrub the grill clean.
  • Use grilling gloves and long utensils to avoid getting your hands too close to the heat and possibly getting burned.
  • Do not move your grill under a flammable structure for any reason – 36 percent of building fires that result in injury are caused by cooking, according to the United States Fire Administration.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grill at all times, even if the cooking is done. The grill remains hot for a long while.

Other important safety tips to remember this weekend:

  • The fourth of July is traditionally one of the busiest boating weekends of the year as well. While on a boat, wear your life jacket and designate a sober operator. Almost half of all boating accidents involve alcohol.
  • According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Independence Day traditionally sees an increase in the number of pool drownings, compared to an average week during the rest of the summer. Never leave a child unattended in or near a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water. Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smart phone or be otherwise distracted. Adults can take turns being a Water Watcher. Also teach children basic water safety tips and/or teach your child how to swim.
  • And finally, each July Fourth, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, even sparklers. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Never point or throw fireworks at another person. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

Red Duke Trauma Institute asks the community to please remember these safety tips this weekend and wishes the Greater Houston area a fun and accident-free holiday!