The American Red Cross tips include advice for escaping a rip current, which can occur at any beach with breaking waves.

Follow Red Cross Tips for a Safe, Fun Holiday Weekend

The American Red Cross has posted a list of safety tips to help Americans get the most from their Fourth of July holiday weekend, safely, whether at the beach, watching fireworks, enjoying a day in the sun.

The American Red Cross has posted a list of safety tips to help Americans get the most from their Fourth of July holiday weekend, safely, whether at the beach, watching fireworks, or enjoying a day in the sun.

Starting with fireworks safety, ARC recommends attending a public fireworks show staged by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show, as well. For those setting off fireworks at home, here are the ARC's tips:

  • Never give fireworks to small children and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a "dud."
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Anyone whose plans include swimming in the ocean should learn how to swim in the surf, according to ARC, which also advices:

  • Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • While you're enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions.
  • Make sure you swim sober and that you always swim with a buddy.
  • Even if you're confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don't dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

A separate list of tips for rip currents, which can occur at any beach with breaking waves, is part of the list:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Sun protection tips:

  • Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
  • Reapply your sunscreen often.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if you're not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
  • During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 and move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person. Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

The free Red Cross First Aid App is available at redcross.org/apps.

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