ITASCA, Ill., June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The combination of travel, alcohol and fireworks has made July the nation's deadliest month and the 4th of July our most dangerous holiday. According to the most recent data available from the National Safety Council, July 4, 2005 was the most lethal holiday for drivers, with alcohol factoring into nearly half of all motor vehicle deaths over the July 4th holiday. This year, the National Safety Council estimates 203 traffic fatalities and 10,600 nonfatal disabling traffic injuries during the holiday period that begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4. Another tragic holiday pairing is fireworks and kids. Of the estimated 10,800 people treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in 2005, nearly half were under 15 years old. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of fireworks injuries than the general population; about a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers. The National Safety Council urges Americans to celebrate this Independence Day injury-free. Some easy -- and potentially lifesaving -- precautions include: Traffic Safety An estimated 174 lives may be saved this holiday because people will wear their safety belts, and an additional 48 lives could be saved if all wore safety belts. -- Think ahead if you plan on consuming alcohol. Designate a sober driver and give that person your keys. -- If you're impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely. -- Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the road to law enforcement. -- Don't let friends drive drunk. Take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements. Fireworks safety The best way to safely enjoy fireworks is to watch a public fireworks display conducted by professionals. However, if fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them: -- Never allow young children to handle fireworks. -- Allow older children to use fireworks only under close adult supervision. -- Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used. -- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials. -- Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting. -- Never ignite devices in a container. -- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks; douse and soak them with water and discard them safely. -- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire. The National Safety Council (http://www.nsc.org) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental, international public service organization. Members of the NSC include businesses, labor organizations, schools, public agencies, private groups and individuals. Founded in 1913 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1953, the National Safety Council is committed to preventing accidental injuries in the workplace, on roads and highways, and in homes and communities.
SOURCE National Safety Council