The Fourth of July holiday weekend is just around the corner! Whether you’re having a backyard BBQ cookout, traveling, going to the beach, or attending public events, the American Red Cross has tips for everyone to safely enjoy the summer amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


No matter where you are or where you go, be sure to use public health guidelines, to help keep yourself and loved ones safe.

  • If your community is reopening, know what precautions to take in public settings. Stay at home if you are sick.
  • Keep about six feet between yourself and others. Limit your risk by reducing the number of places you go and your exposure to others.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – Report suspicious activity to authorities.
  • Wear cloth face coverings, especially in crowded areas. Do not place them on children under the age of two.
  • If you’re going to be outdoors, apply sunscreen regularly and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Dress appropriately and in layers to be ready for any change in the weather.
  • Have different methods to communicate if you’re with a group. Exchange numbers with the others in the group. Plan where to meet should someone become separated.


As public pools and beaches open in your area, be sure to follow guidelines of state and local officials. Beat the heat and stay safe by following a few simple steps:

  • Make sure the area is lifeguard-protected and designated for swimming before entering the water. 
  • Maintain social distancing, both in and out of the water, between you and people who don’t live with you.
  • Wear a face covering on land but not in the water as it may be difficult to breathe.
  • Don’t share goggles, nose clips, snorkels or other personal items.
  • Provide constant supervision to children in and around the water.
  • Swim sober and never swim alone.
  • Wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets as an extra layer of protection.
  • Don’t dive headfirst—protect your neck. Check for water depth and obstructions before diving and go in feet first the first time.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous.


Summer is a popular time for grilling family meals at home. Unfortunately grill fires spark more than 10,000 home fires on average each year. To avoid this:

  • Always supervise the barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add lighter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Make sure everyone, including children and pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Never grill indoors – Keep the grill in the open, away from your home or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use long-handled tools that are made for cooking on the grill.


The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch one put on by professionals. If you have fireworks at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Before buying or using them, make sure consumer fireworks are legal in your area
  • Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials – Sparklers can burn at temperatures of 2,000+ degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt some metals
  • Always follow the instructions on the packaging
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight one


Heading into the great outdoors can be a fantastic adventure, with a little planning it can be a safe one too. Here are some steps you can take to stay safe:

  • Take a Red Cross First Aid/CPR course so that you’ll know what to do in case there is a minor injury or in case help is delayed
  • Keep alert and check the local weather conditions
  • Bring nutritious food items and water
  • Use an over-the-counter insect-repellent product


A quick road trip or flying halfway around the world during the holiday can be a lot of fun! Stay safe by following a few tips:

  • Make sure you are well rested and alert – Use seat belts, observe speed limits, and follow the rules of the road
  • Before you head out, check for unsafe road conditions or traffic to avoid along your route – Use caution in work zones
  • Designate a driver who won’t drink alcohol. Give your full attention to the road
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely
  • Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows to help you see, especially at night
  • Don’t let your vehicle’s gas tank get too low
  • If traveling abroad, register your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • Share your travel plans and locations with a family member, neighbor or friend


Prepared by Cecilia Dao, American Red Cross contributor