The 4th of July is our nation's most patriotic holiday. But with fireworks, hot grills, and a backyard pool, it also a day when safety is at a premium.

Fire departments report that more fires are reported on the 4th of July than on any other day of the year. It's great to celebrate America's independence but it's also critical that you exercise caution, keep a close eye on your children, and make wise decisions.

There are some very common-sense things you can do to stay safe.

When it comes to fireworks, there are important do's and don'ts.

  • Do keep children a safe distance from any sparklers or live fireworks.
  • Do keep water nearby when dealing with fireworks.
  • Do wear protective eyewear when setting off fireworks.
  • Do supervise any older children that you allow to use fireworks.
  • Don't allow small children to handle fireworks of any kind.
  • Don't stick around a home, party, or venue where you feel unsafe with how fireworks are being handled.

One of the biggest safety issues on the 4th of July is a lack of attention. Let's face it, things can be hectic at a party. There are tons of people, lots of kids running around, and a multitude of distractions. That combination can be especially problematic when it comes to something like a hot grill. Always make sure there is an adult whose job it is to supervise the grill. It only takes a second for a child to open a hot grill and be burned severely.

Another problem spot for parents on the 4th of July is water. With lots happening, it can be easy to lose sight of a child for a minute or two near a pool or at the beach. It is critical that you know where your children are at all times and, if you leave them in the care of someone else, make sure that person understands the necessity of keeping constant watch on the children.

At the beach, there is another concern. When the beach is teeming with people, a child can wander off and quickly become lost. When you arrive at the beach, make sure that your child knows the boundaries that you set. Also, establish a meeting spot if you get separated. If your kids are older, make sure they know your cell phone number or have a way to get in contact with you.

In the heat of the summer, it's always a good idea to keep lots of sunblock and insect repellent on hand. Similarly, make sure that you and your children stay hydrated.

Holidays also are a magnet for drunk drivers. Remember to watch your alcohol intake and try to stay extra alert, stay on well-lit highways, and travel at regular hours to get your family home safely.

A final note — on the 4th of July there is always a news story somewhere in the U.S. about someone being struck by a bullet from a gun that was fired up into the air in celebration. Obviously, whatever goes up, comes down, and bullets fired into the air can kill or seriously injure someone.