Celebrate a Stress-Free July Fourth

Getting together with friends and family for fireworks, barbecues and parties on Independence Day is a time-honored American tradition, and Los Angeles County has plenty of great, free ways to celebrate our nation’s freedom. However, while fun and meaningful, the holiday’s traditions can also be stressful for all family members. Here are a few ways for families to celebrate freedom and feel freer from stress during this year’s July Fourth festivities:

Plan Ahead — July Fourth is one of the worst traffic days of the year in Los Angeles County. Because traffic in Los Angeles is particularly bad on this holiday, make sure you know when and where you are going. Plan your trip so that you can leave early enough to skip traffic or, better yet, take public transportation. If you are planning on spending the day outside, make sure to apply lots of sunscreen, bring more for later and pack plenty of water and snacks. If you will be out after the sun goes down, bring extra layers in case it gets chilly at night.

Prepare Your Pet — The Fourth of July is a great holiday for family and friends, but not so much for the family dog. Dogs and other pets are often terrified by the loud noise and bright light of fireworks, so if you are planning on watching the fireworks outside, leave your dog at home. Help your child cultivate empathy by asking them to help prepare a quiet, stress-free environment for your pet. If you are not going to be home at night, leave a TV or radio on. Have water readily available and leave blankets your pet can hide under. If they likes being in a crate, consider leaving your pet there, where it feels safe. Do not leave animals outside. This can lead to your pet getting very scared and running away.

Be Lawful About Fireworks — Any kind of fireworks are illegal for individuals to use in Los Angeles County. According to the County Fire Department, fireworks cause brush fires, house fires, millions of dollars in damages, injuries and even death. The possession or use of illegal fireworks carries heavy fines and even jail time. Model responsible behavior for your children and limit the stress of danger by skipping home fireworks displays.

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