It’s that day of the year again: when we commemorate our nation’s independence and proudly show off our patriotism to our country. The Fourth of July is undoubtedly one of the biggest and busiest days of the year because Americans all over the country will be celebrating. If you and your household have plans for this day, then you should prepare for it beforehand.
Whether you’re planning to travel, to have a barbecue in your backyard, to go boating, or are simply wondering what to do with your kids or pets on this hectic day, here is the essential prep guide to your Fourth of July celebrations.
When You Have Plans to Travel
If you’re planning to travel, the traffic should be one of your foremost considerations. It’s a time when many Americans hit the road and celebrate with their family and friends, so expect heavy traffic, both on the road and up in the air. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), around 37.5 million Americans will be driving to their weekend getaway and over 3.4 million will fly. These figures do not include those who will take trains and buses. Follow these tips for easier travel:
- Start your trip days prior to the date itself to avoid the predicted heavy traffic.
- Pack your bags or luggage weeks before so you won’t forget anything important.
- Book your flights or train and bus tickets beforehand to make sure you avoid getting left out on flights or trips. Also, take note that the later you book, the more you have to pay when it comes to airfare.
- If you’re going on a road trip, fill up your tank with gas for the trip. It’s also wise to fill up a spare container with extra gas and a hose so you won’t have to be stuck in the middle of nowhere on an empty tank. Thankfully, gas is expected to be cheaper at this time of year. Lastly, remember to pack your tool bag just in case your car breaks down in the middle of the highway.
- Install a GPS tracker on your car for easier and more efficient navigation. This allows you to find your way easily to your destination without getting lost.
When You Plan to Go Boating
In places like Manassas, Virginia, highway traffic is not one of their concerns. It’s boating safety, as traffic on the water becomes the highest during this time of year. This is why the National Safe Boating Council encourages boaters to be responsible at all times while on the water. Furthermore, boating safety does not just pertain to in-vehicle incidents, as drowning is also reported to be the major cause of recreational boating fatalities, according to the US Coast Guard. To be safe at all times while you’re on the water, follow these tips:
- Always wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket. These days, there are many innovative styles that provide mobility and flexibility, ensuring comfort even when doing water activities.
- Travel at safe speeds. Familiarize yourself with the acceptable boating zone speed and stay within that limit.
- Be mindful of the weather. Check the weather forecast before departing to ensure overall safety. Follow warnings and precautionary measures.
- Check your equipment for safety. You can schedule a free vessel safety check with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons to make sure you have the necessary equipment on board.
- Keep in touch with people on the shore to ensure you have someone looking out for you. Devices like VHF radios, satellite phones, and GPS trackers can be helpful in case of emergencies.
When You Have Teenagers Who Want to Party
Teenagers are at a period in their lives when they just want to hang out and have fun. Fourth of July celebrations are no exception. Whether your teens are going off to their friends’ parties or you’re allowing them to host a party for their friends in your home, here are some tips that will help you manage the whole situation:
If They’re Attending Others’ Parties
- Speak with the host parents, even when you don’t know them. Check that an adult will be present and that they know and will enforce the policies on alcohol consumption.
- Remind your kids to always have a fully charged phone with them at all times so they can reach out to you in case of emergencies or you can contact them if they go beyond their curfew.
- Speak with them about the use of GPS tracking devices. Explain that these devices are just a way of protecting them from afar. In case they get into any kind of trouble, they will always have a way to reach out to you for help and you will always know where to find them.
If They’re Hosting a Party in Your Own Home
- Discuss house rules with your teenager and make sure you both come to an agreement that he is in charge of the party and therefore will be responsible for the state of the house afterward. He should understand that even though you will be out of sight during their party, you will still be around to keep things in check.
- Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages like juice and soda as well as water. Be ready to handle guests who might sneak in some alcohol.
- Have some medications on hand in case a guest falls ill during the party. For instance, someone might suffer allergies from the food, so it’s better to have some antihistamine available. Don’t leave them unattended, and if their situation gets serious, call their parents.
When You Have Kids Who Have Autism
Fourth of July celebrations are fun and exciting for most people, but that’s not the case for children who have been diagnosed with autism. To them, crowded public spaces and fireworks are anathemas, as these only cause extreme anxiety and stress in them. To ease their unease and discomfort during the celebration, here are some tips on what you can do:
- Prepare for the crowds. Being in the middle of crowds can be uncomfortable for them as a lot of people will be passing by to get to their seats. For the benefit of your child, try to find a more accessible place with fewer people, where you can view the show comfortably. You can also opt to have them wear earplugs so as to muffle all the noise.
- Talk to your children about fireworks to give them an idea of what to expect. You can make them watch videos of fireworks on YouTube to better prepare them for the experience.
- Have a safety plan in place. In crowded public spaces, it would be so easy to lose sight of your kid especially with all the people and noise around. Have your kid wear a GPS tracking device like the Trackimo 3G GPS Universal Tracker with real-time tracking and SOS button features. In the event that he does get lost, you can easily find him, and he can immediately contact you too for help.
When You Have Dogs in Your Home
Even when we are having so much fun, we must not forget about our beloved pets. While dogs are friendly creatures, all the celebration and noise around them can stress them out. While we can certainly have fun with them on this day, there are still certain precautions we must take to ensure their safety and comfort:
- Prepare lots of healthy food for them. Remember that food that may be good for humans might not be healthy for dogs. Some examples of foods that are toxic to dogs are avocados, grapes, onions, and chocolate. Also, avoid giving them bones as they might choke on it. Acceptable food for them are hotdogs (cut into bite-sized pieces), hamburger patties, grilled veggies, grilled meat, and fish, provided you get rid of the bones and leave off the intense spices.
- Give them some entertainment. While dogs are experts at entertaining themselves, they would still need some attention from you and your guests. Give your pets some toys like chew balls or flying discs, which you can toss around with them.
- Right before the fireworks start, make sure you bring your dog indoors. Dogs are not too crazy about the noise, and remnants of fireworks are also major choking hazards that could be toxic to animals.
- Install a GPS tracking device on your dog, just in case he runs away because he’s frightened by the noise. This way, you can easily locate and recover him if he gets lost.
Fourth of July celebrations are meant to be fun and exciting, not stressful and full of anxiety. You can ease the stress by preparing for this once-a-year event by following the above tips.
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