Here are a few quick reminders to help you stay safe as you celebrate Independence Day with family and friends. Happy 242nd birthday to the United States!

1) Fireworks. Bottom line, fireworks are dangerous and should be handled only by professionals. Even sparklers can cause serious injuries. Whatever you do, never let young children touch fireworks or sparklers. Before you let kids handle fireworks, make sure they are old enough to understand the dangers of explosives and that they can follow safety procedures. It's also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher and a source of water within easy reach when lighting fireworks.

2) Water Safety. If you're planning to be in or around water this holiday, it's important to take precautions. While boating, make sure everyone has easy access to a life preserver appropriate for their size. Young kids should wear a life jacket at all times. If you're near a swim area, like a pool or lake, make sure kids are well supervised, even if they can swim. No one should be allowed to swim alone.

3) Grill Safety. Grills may look innocent but they can be extremely dangerous. Make sure your grill is in good working order before you use it. Check hoses on gas grills for any holes or cracks. Replace any damaged parts before firing it up. Also, clean the grill prior to use so there is no excess grease or fat that could ignite. If you will be cooking on the grill, don't wear loose fitting clothes that could accidentally catch fire. Lastly, keep children and pets away from grills. Young kids may not understand that grills get hot just like stoves.

Here are some more tips from FEMA and the Red Cross to help ensure you enjoy the holiday.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July from David A. Axelrod & Associates!

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