Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Celebrate Labor Day Safely

(MS) -- The days are slowly getting shorter, the football season is just around the bend, and end-of-summer sales are to be had at all of the stores. These signs indicate that Labor Day is about to arrive.

On this holiday people strive to have one last warm-weather hurrah before the lazy days of summer turn into the crisp days of autumn. No matter what the type of Labor Day activity, it is important to keep safety in mind.

* Plan enough time for your vacation or trip and don't speed. Labor Day is a busy time for traveling and you'll be competing for road space with other drivers, some of whom can be aggressive behind the wheel.

* Don't drink and drive. And if you're hosting a party for others, make sure no one who will be driving leaves intoxicated.

* If your fun will be taking place on a water vessel, make sure everyone is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket.

* Don't drink and operate a boat.

* Practice fireworks safety. If fireworks are not legal in your area, refrain from purchasing and firing them off. If they are, don't let children participate in the ignition of fireworks. Maintain a safe distance from lit fireworks, and never try to re-light a "dud" firework.

* Keep a sharp eye on children, especially where there are pools or swimming will occur. It takes only a few inches of water for a child to drown. Labor Day activities can be exciting and confusing, so make sure you keep tabs on the children. Latch any safety gates surrounding pools and only swim at beaches with a lifeguard present.

* Don't forget to protect your skin and eyes from the sun's rays. Slather on sunblock with SPF 20 or more several times during the day.

* Labor Day events often involve picnics or meals outdoors. Remember to safely store refrigerated foods so that they won't spoil. Cook meats and poultry to recommended temperatures to avoid food poisoning. If food has been left outside for several hours, don't try to save the leftovers -- bacteria may be present.

* When driving, keep an eye open for bicyclists, in-line skaters, motorcyclists and other people sharing the road.

CAPTION: However you celebrate Labor Day this year -- whether a picnic or a trip to the seaside -- keep safety in mind.


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