Labor Day marks the official end of summer as kids head back to school and football season officially kicks off. Many of us plan on taking advantage of the three-day holiday weekend by taking a road trip, hosting a barbecue, spending time at the beach or boating on the lake. Unfortunately, with all of these activities comes the risk of injuries and accidents, especially when alcohol is involved.

Whether you are planning to stay close to home or hitting the road this Labor Day weekend, we want you and your family to close out the summer safely. Here are some important safety tips and common holiday hazards to beware of this Labor Day.

Drowning- Many Floridians (and the rest of the country) will be bidding farewell to summer by spending a day at the pool. Even if everyone in your family knows how to swim, drowning is still a serious hazard, especially when it comes to younger children. Most of these accidents occur in backyard pools. Approximately 350 children under the age of 5 drown in pools every year.

Here are some tips to prevent drowning incidents:

  • Install at least a 4-foot-high, self-locking fence around the pool to prevent young children from entering the pool without adult supervision.
  • Designate a responsible adult to supervise children at all times as they swim or play by the pool.
  • Put away all pool toys and rafts immediately after use to prevent young children from being tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.
  • Avoid pool drains, pipes and other openings in the pool. These are particularly dangerous for small children.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, or while supervising children by the pool.

Drunk driving accidents- Nearly 1/3 of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed nationwide as a result of drunk driving, with 424 of these crash fatalities taking place during Labor Day weekend alone. Approximately 1 in 5 children, 12 years of age and younger, were killed that same year in drunk-driving crashes; 71% of the time it was the child's own driver who was intoxicated.

Three-day holiday weekends like Labor Day often involve people consuming more alcohol than they normally would. Whether you are attending a family barbecue or hosting a party, keep an eye on your alcohol consumption and your guests. Never get behind the wheel (or let anyone else do so) after consuming alcohol- even if it is just one or two drinks. Buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

The 2016 national campaign "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" goes into effect across the country from August 17 to September 5, 2016. Through increased statewide enforcement efforts, social media and local resources, the campaign has helped promote public awareness for the national movement.

Drivers can expect to see the following statewide enforcement efforts during the campaign:

  • Portable Signage
  • Electronic Message Signs
  • Specially Marked Squads
  • Specially Marked Vests
  • BAT (Breath Alcohol Testing) Mobiles
  • Command Posts

Research shows that this high-visibility enforcement can reduce alcohol-related driving fatalities by as much as 20%.

Boating accidents- Boating accidents occur in large part due to people underestimating the dangers of the water. Distracted or inexperienced boat drivers can put everyone's life at risk on the water, and seriously injure people on board the boat.

According to the U. S. Coast Guard, there are five contributing factors that cause most boating accidents. These include:

  • Excessive speed
  • Lack of experience
  • Not paying attention
  • Not maintaining a proper lookout
  • Machinery failure

Boating under the influence, or BUI, is another cause for concern. Any person in control of a boat who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a .08 blood alcohol content or higher is subject to arrest, the same as drivers on the road. People under 21 who are operating a vessel with a BAC of .02 or higher are also in violation of Florida's boating laws.

Recreational accidents- Besides the dangers associated with water activities and driving, there are a number of other accidents that can occur over the Labor Day holiday weekend. These can oftentimes be the result of someone else's negligence and can include:

  • Dog bites
  • ATV accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Sporting injuries

Fire- If not managed properly the most common Labor Day activities can turn into a serious fire hazard for you and your home. On average, U.S. fire departments respond to more than 350,000 home structure fires every year.

Here are some tips to preventing fires:

  • Operate your grill in an open, outdoor area that is well ventilated and far enough away from your home.
  • Never leave food on the grill unattended.
  • Keep flammable items – such as grill lighter fluid, potholders, wooden utensils, towels, napkins and cleaning supplies – away from the stoves and grills at all times.
  • Avoid using fireworks (even the consumer ones); especially if there are young children around.
  • Most importantly, be prepared in case of a fire. Make sure smoke alarms work properly before you begin your Labor Day weekend festivities and check that your household fire extinguisher is up to date.

Food Safety - Picnics, barbeques, and neighborhood pot-lucks are a popular way to celebrate the holiday, but with that come the chance of food-borne illness.

Here are some food safety tips to prevent cross-contamination:

  • Wash your hands before and after you touch raw meat.
  • Dry your hands on paper towels instead of cloth towels, and discard immediately.
  • Refrigerate meat that is being prepared for the grill.
  • Never leave food that requires refrigeration (i.e. - potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw or chicken salad) out in the sun. Instead, set the item the bowl is in on top of a pan filled with ice, and serve from a shaded area.
  • Return these items to the refrigerator as soon as your guests have been served.
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At the Law Firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A., we want you and your family to stay safe this Labor Day weekend. Car accidents and pedestrian accidents often occur during this time as a result of intoxicated and reckless drivers on Florida roadways. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident or any other type of accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important that you contact an experienced Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer immediately. Our experienced team of accident attorneys has helped clients and their families obtain compensation for their injuries and losses in all types of accidents. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website or call us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case at 407-490-1271.

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