How to stay safe on Memorial Day

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Millions of Americans will be firing up the barbecues and kicking back on Memorial Day this Monday. But before you start grilling up hamburgers or head out on a road trip, make sure to take these safety tips into account to get the most out of your holiday.

Grilling

Memorial Day has long been associated with grilling food. So it's important to keep wary of the dangers of food poisoning, which afflicts up to 48 million Americans each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Protection. To avoid getting sick from your grill, use a meat thermometer can be important to ensure your hamburger is not dangerously rare.

"With ground beef, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness," Marianne Graveley, a specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's meat and poultry hotline, told ABC News.

Additionally, grills themselves can be dangerous areas for younger children to be around. Experts suggest that adults keep a kid free area of three feet around the grill, and also to keep the grill clean of any cobwebs and grease that may ignite.

Travel

Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for millions of Americans to take a road trip. But with all those extra cars on the road, it means there'll be more traffic accidents.

The National Safety Council says that 382 fatalities and 40,900 injuries might occur as a result of crashes this weekend. That's why they're urging drivers to take more precautions when out on the road this weekend.

"We issue these estimates to draw attention to risks on the roadways and encourage drivers to take extra precautions so needless tragedies can be prevented," Deborah Hersman, NSC president and CEO, told ABC News.

Insects

Americans are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors this weekend this weekend, which will make them very susceptible to insects. But while insects may just be a nuisance to some, they're much more dangerous to others.

According to ABC News, insect stings are the cause of at least 50 known deaths a year, and result in more than 500,000 Americans being hospitalized. For those allergic to insect stings, health officials recommend you carry an EpiPen on you in the event of a severe allergic reaction.

"It does you no good to have it in your medicine cabinet if you're out and about [and get stung]," Harvard Entomologist Richard Pollack told ABC News. Additionally, Pollack suggests those traveling in the outdoors to be wary of exotic insects, including ticks.

"If you're going to enjoy the outdoors, even just a backyard barbecue, you run some risk of acquiring a tick," said Pollack. "At the end of the day, do a tick check on yourself, children and even your pets."

Pools

Memorial Day will also see many of Americans lounging by the pool and at the beach. But for those with kids, it's important to have a designated "pool watcher" to ensure that children are being safe.

"There have been incidences that everyone assumed that someone was watching the kids," Jennifer Walker told ABC News. Walker also stressed the importance of draining a pool after the party is over, as even a small amount of water can prove life threatening to an infant.


Related Topics:
societymemorial dayhealthchildren's healthu.s. & worldholidaydistraction

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