Fireworks and Kids: Safety First!



Fireworks can make a celebration special, that’s for sure.  What’s a 4th of July celebration without a fireworks display?  Fireworks at the end of a Dash game are the icing on the cake—especially if they won. But, what about safety?  Being mindful of safety tips, especially when children are involved, is critical.  Accidents happen so quickly.  Advance preparation and knowledge can make a fireworks experience much more fun for everyone.  So, let’s get started…

Some Basic Guidelines*

  • First, if you’re planning a do-it-yourself event in the neighborhood, keep several things in mind. First, not everyone enjoys the bangs, flashes, and noises associated with fireworks. Check to see if any neighbors have posted signs requesting courtesy with fireworks; PTSD and fireworks don’t mix well. Let your neighbors know if you plan a backyard fireworks show, so they can plan accordingly.
  • If it’s been especially dry in your area or if your neighborhood is heavily wooded, you may need to rethink setting off fireworks. Never light fireworks near dry grasses.
  • Aim fireworks away from homes, shrubbery, trees, or any flammables.Keep unused fireworks away from the staging area until ready to use.
  • Our pets are not fans of fireworks; they don’t know what’s going on with all those new sounds and sights. Many dogs have run away from home or gotten injured due to the terror they experience. Give neighbors a heads-up, so they can provide a safe place for pets while fireworks are going off.
  • Adult supervision is necessary. Over half of all firework-related injuries occur to children under the age of 16.

Planning Ahead

  • Check to verify that fireworks are legal in your area and purchase from a reputable source.
  • Be sure to read all instructions on handling and lighting fireworks well ahead of time.
  • Have a water hose, bucket of water, and/or fire extinguisher on hand. Take time to review the steps on using the fire extinguisher.
  • Be sure that the person(s) lighting the fireworks wears safety goggles, closed-toed shoes, and avoids any loose clothing.

Showtime!

  • Light one firework at a time, leave the spectacular, show-stopping displays to the professionals. Have the fireworks lined up in the order you plan to use them and have someone else pass them to you as needed.
  • Keep spectators well back from the display area and away from unused fireworks.
  • To be safe, everyone should wear closed-toed shoes. Flip-flops and sparks do not go together.
  • If a firework doesn’t go off, don’t approach it. Never attempt to relight it.  Douse it with water, soaking it thoroughly, then pick it up with a shovel and plunge it into a bucket of water.
  • Sparklers are a favorite for kids of all ages. Set some ground rules before lighting them up.  No running, waving them at each other, and keep them at arm’s length.  Sparklers burn at temperatures 15 times the point of boiling water.  Three sparklers held together are equal to the heat from a blowtorch.  To be sure sparklers are out, plunge them into a bucket of water.
  • An excellent alternative to sparklers are glow sticks. They’re available in a variety of colors and shapes.

Perhaps the best way to enjoy a fireworks show is to attend one held by professionals.  There are plenty scheduled around the 4th of July at nearby lakes, games, concerts, or other outdoor areas.  Many are free and open to everyone.  Yes, you may be stuck in traffic when leaving, but seeing a professionally executed light show is worth a little wait now and then.  Viewing fireworks over water is extra-special, or when the show is set to music.  Load up the car, grab some blankets or chairs, and head out for a show in the skies. Happy 4th of July!!

*Sources:  safekids.org; fireworksafety.org

 


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