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Happy Labor Day!!!

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. Today Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers throughout the nation annually celebrating the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Throughout the year I enjoy sharing health and safety tips useful to all occasions. Labor Day is, of course, no exception – so I’d like to send you some important refreshers on how to keep this holiday and any festive occasion both safe and fun for you and your loved ones!

If you’re celebrating outdoors, remember that it’s going to be a hot and sunny weekend so be sure to wear sunscreen and avoid heat related illness such as heatstroke. In my blog “Safe, Smart fun in the Sun“, there are several tips to help you and your loved ones avoid the dangers of UV rays and our blog “Beat the Heat” discusses the dangers of exposure to extreme heat and how to play it safe!

Outdoor parties require planning to ensure a safe and good time is had by all! Last year I shared the best ways to host or be a party guest in the "Be the Best" blog but today I want to include some important tips for those backyard bashes that are a staple of Labor Day weekend:

  • Thoroughly inspect your yard for any things that could be a danger such as wasp nests, standing water (mosquito breeding grounds),anthills, holes, trip hazards, rotting trees or limbs that could fall, rusting equipment, low hanging electrical wires, or anything you can see as a danger – particularly to small children or adults who may be under the influence. (It’s a party, there will be alcohol!) Remove the hazards, cover them or flag them with reflective materials.Be sure moving vehicles are away from your guests.

  • If possible, have a pedestrian entry to your party distanced from the parking.Be prepared to accommodate children if your

party is family friendly. There’s more to this than just saying it’s ok to bring your children because once they are there if they are not occupied they will be underfoot and more likely to have or cause accidents. Consider the age ranges and have play areas set up for little ones and some outdoor sports for the teens. Be sure there are no choking hazards with any of the toys you provide. Perhaps, ask guests in advance, what they recommend for their children or suggest their children bring their own entertainment to share.

  • Food safety is key to avoiding a party gone wrong! If your outdoor fun includes grilling hamburgers, play it safe by handling raw ground beef carefully. First, be sure you keep the meat cold (40 degrees F or less) until it is cooked. Second, cook ground beef to a safe temperature of 160 degrees F so that bacteria such as E. coli are killed. Poultry products, including ground poultry, should always be cooked to at least 165 °F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers should be refrigerated no more than two hours after cooking. When preparing food, never use the same dish for raw meats and foods that will not be cooked. Don’t let perishable food sit out while swimming or during other activities. If the temperature is above 90 degrees F, food is not safe to sit out longer than one hour! Keep hands and all utensils clean when preparing food. To learn more about grilling safely, check out our previous blog about Backyard Grilling Tips.Be responsible with alcoholic beverages.

  • Adult beverages go hand in hand with adults partying and there’s nothing wrong with that, but as a host there are certain precautions you should take to prevent any incidents caused by alcohol. First and foremost you want to make sure none of your guests get behind the wheel after heavy drinking. Of course, it’s best to prevent heavy drinking if you are able. Some easy ways to do that are;Make food more easily available than alcohol. When your guests have a full tummy it slows the effects of alcohol and when alcohol isn’t right at the forefront of the party guests will likely drink less.Have a bartender or someone in charge of serving the drinks so that guests won’t be able to over-pour the alcohol or consume it at a faster rate.

  • If you have a swimming pool on your property, be aware of the dangers and how you can prevent accidents. Prior to your party, make sure you have adequate anti-entrapment drain covers for your pool. During your party, have a designated adult who knows how to swim watching over swimming pool activity at all times. Do not allow people who have consumed a lot of alcohol in or close to the pool. If at all possible, have someone at your party who has been CPR/First Aid trained.

  • Pet safety at parties is easy to overlook. Of course you want to include your pet in the festivities, but it’s important to honestly assess your pet before adding him or her to the guest list. If your pet is aggressive in any way, overly excitable, or very shy, he or she may not be a good guest at the party and may be better off at the sitters for the day. Also, consider if any of your guests have allergies to pet dander. And, lastly, consider if your beloved pet can avoid eating the wrong things at a party. With so many guests and so many plates of food surrounding, your pet may snatch a bite of something you would never give him/her under normal circumstances or your guests may think it’s fun to give him/her some of the food available. Some food that we humans enjoy is toxic to our furry friends, so be sure that if your pet is wandering around your party someone is watching over him/her carefully to be sure no dangerous food is gobbled up.

  • A first aid kit is always important to have on hand in any household, but most especially when the number of people on your property is larger than usual. To learn how to build a first aid kit for you home (as well as your for your vehicle) and for other helpful first aid information visit the Healthy Essentials Website.

Perhaps you use this time for a vacation! Instead of hosting or attending parties at home, you choose to take advantage of this long weekend by traveling with loved ones. Statistically and understandably, any holiday weekend will have heavier traffic than usual because you're not the only one who decided to take advantage of this opportunity. So, in closing, I want to share with you 5 key tips for any time you take a road trip:

1) Make sure your vehicle is in proper condition prior to hitting the road – check your lights, fluids, belts, hoses, breaks, and the condition of your tires and battery beforehand. If you are not sure what to check, seek professional help. 2) Plan your route ahead of time by checking weather and traffic conditions along your path. Be sure to bring a map because even though technology and GPS systems are very helpful there are occasions when the signal is lost or unavailable. 3) Follow the posted speed limits and remember congestion on the roads may mean you’ll have to travel below posted limits. Drive smart and avoid road rage and distracted driving (visit my previous blog about Distracted Driving to learn more). If you encounter wet weather on your journey, use the tips in my blog about driving in wet weather conditions to stay safe. 4) Be sure you are well rested before going on a long drive and even if you want to push through, if your body tells you you are tired respect it and take a break! 5) Be prepared for emergencies by packing a first aid kit, water and medications in your vehicle.

Here's to a Fun, Safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend!! Susan

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