The 4th of July is upon us! Neighborhood kids are camped-out on the curb, excited to watch the parade as it makes its way down Main Street. Parents are anxious to fire-up the grill, ready for a relaxing backyard barbecue. Day will fade into night, accompanied by live music, slightly-melted ice cream, and, of course, the red, the white, and the blue. As the lightning bugs come out, kids will pull sparklers and fire crackers out of the garage, ready to light-up the sky with bursts of color. It’s an incredibly magical night for everyone—but it can also be extremely dangerous. Last year, U.S. emergency departments treated an estimated 14,000 fireworks-related injuries. These injuries included burns, dislocations, hemorrhages, fractures, and internal organ injuries. The majority of these accidents could have been avoided if those injured had practiced common fireworks safety. In order to safely enjoy your 4th of July fireworks, read below for some important (yet easy to forget) reminders:
Supervision is Key
Never allow your children to play with fireworks, especially if they are unsupervised. This may seem like common sense for firecrackers and rockets, but sparklers are also too dangerous for kids to handle on their own. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sparklers can reach temperatures greater than 1000°F and can cause serious burns by igniting clothing. If you and your family choose to light your own fireworks, make sure that your children are under continuous supervision. Additionally, keep a bucket of water handy in case of unexpected accidents.
Avoid Close Proximity
Younger children may not recognize the danger in standing too close fireworks. Do not allow them to carry firecrackers in their pockets, as the friction could allow them to explode. Parents, make sure your kiddos are a safe distance away before lighting the firecracker. It should be planted firmly on the ground, pointing away from you, your children, and any houses or buildings. Do not light the firecracker while holding it, or while any part of your body is over it. Light the fuse, then move to stand next to your kids.
Don’t Touch Duds
On occasion, some fireworks will fizzle and sizzle, but won’t provide you with that awe-inspiring explosion. If you or your children encounter this situation, do not attempt to relight the firecracker—it could be unstable and explode once you are close to it. Additionally, do not try to pick it up and dispose of it. Best practice states that it should be soaked in water and left alone.
Keep Quantities Limited
This policy may not make you the most popular parent on the block—but it’ll definitely make you one of the safest. In order to maintain control of the situation, only allow one firecracker to be lit at a time. Following the procedures listed above, light each firecracker, let it explode, and then proceed to the next. Trying to light multiple fireworks at once can result in serious injury, including burns.
It may seem safe to allow your children to assist in the clean-up process, but some firecrackers might still be ignited while others could be extremely hot—it’s best to handle this process yourself. Soak each firework in water prior to throwing them in the trash; this simple process will help you to prevent a trash fire.
There’s no reason for you and your children to miss out on the joy that comes with 4th of July fireworks—just make sure that you’re practicing 4th of July Fireworks Safety, too!