Above all, be safe this 4th

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

Any holiday means people on the road and on the water or shooting fireworks.

Be safe.

The National Safety Council points out July 4 begins the peak season for accidental injuries.

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Usually, vacation road trips begin on the long weekend. That compounds regular traffic. More people traveling on highways means more accidents.

Beginning at midnight Thursday, the holiday will run through midnight Sunday. The National Safety Council predicts there will be 449 traffic fatalities and 24,000 nonfatal injuries.

The Council also estimates that 382 lives will be saved because people were wearing seat belts, and that more than 100 lives could have been saved if everyone wore seat belts.

Swimming and other water-related recreational activities

demand close attention.

And the fireworks &8212; they send thousands of people in the U.S. to emergency rooms each year. In 2006, the last year for which the Council has figures,

emergency rooms reported 9,200 fireworks injuries.

So do yourself a favor: Play safely.