BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Department of Health has shared some tips and reminders ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

“Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer with the kids out of school and families and friends gathering together, and we want everyone to have a safe, fun weekend,” said State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter in a press release.

LDH says that when planning an event with lots of people, outdoor events are safer because everyone can spread out. Those who are at a higher risk of COVID-19 should take additional measures such as masking indoors.

The summer heat brings awareness for water and heat safety. When children are near water, they should be watched. LDH says that 25% of infants and children died from drowning last year. Children should be kept away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings so they don’t get trapped.

“Swim in designated swimming areas and use extreme caution around natural bodies of water which may have unpredictable currents and undertow,” LDH says. Find more information on pool safety here.

During this time of year, children, elderly adults, and pets need to be kept cool because even a short amount of time in extreme heat can result in a trip to the emergency room. LDH says to dress in lightweight and light-colored clothing. Drink water throughout the day and eat smaller meals more often.

As for celebrating Memorial Day, LDH says that adults should handle the fireworks. The state health department suggests lighting fireworks outdoors on a flat, smooth surface away from homes, dry leaves, or any other flammable materials, and never re-light a firework or put a body part over it.

“With COVID cases increasing, we want to make sure everyone stays vigilant and updated on their vaccines, pay special attention when they’re in or around water and drink lots of fluids to help deal with the excessive heat. I urge everyone to follow a few simple, but critical steps to keep you and your children safe this weekend and summer,” Kanter said.