The 4th of July means so much to American families. Not only is this the day we mark our independence from Britain, but it has also become a celebration of some of America’s favorite pastimes. Communities, families and friends across the country gather together on this day for cookouts, pool parties, and trips to the lake, local carnivals and parades. When the sun sets and the sky gets just dark enough, the horizon is lit up with fireworks in towns all across America. It’s a beautiful display of patriotism, but the persistence of firework-related injuries puts medical personnel on edge every year. Keeping kids of all ages safe around fireworks during 4th of July celebrations is vital in ensuring you’re only making nostalgic memories with your loved ones, not ER trips.
Utilize Age-Appropriate Fun
Most kids love watching fireworks, but when they want to handle them, providing kids with age-appropriate fireworks during the celebration is important. For very young children, no fireworks of any kind should be accessible. Items like glow sticks and light-up toys can help them feel like they are contributing to the party without being subjected to the risks. Children over the age of 6 generally do well with sparklers but should be supervised when handling the sparky sticks. Burns may occur if the child grabs the lit section or holds on to the metal base too close to the sparks.
Fireworks that launch or shoot into the air like bottle rockets can be appropriate for responsible teens, but an adult should be present to supervise. Launch areas should be free of debris and the fireworks should never be pointed at a person or held when launching. Penetrating wounds and burns can occur if these are not handled properly.
Fireworks that are meant to explode should never be handled by a child of any age. Regardless of your child’s age or the types of fireworks at your celebration, proper safety precautions are a must. Every year, thousands of injuries are reported across the US due to mishaps with fireworks; severe burns, loss of limb and even death are possible.
Stay Away from Flammable Surfaces and Objects
The wildfires that ravaged the states of Washington and Oregon in 2017 were started as the result of children lighting fireworks in the forest. Dry leaves and grass are the perfect kindling for a fire and are not an appropriate place for fireworks. Fireworks should be burned and launched from concrete surfaces which pose little to no threat of fire. Also, be sure to launch in an open area away from large trees, homes and overhead wires. Wherever you launch from, a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of water should be immediately available to put out a fire in case of emergency.
Use Hearing Protection
Small children should wear hearing protection when close to fireworks to avoid permanent hearing loss. If hearing protection is not available, parents should either take the children indoors or place their hands over the child’s ears as a barrier.
Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July
We at Bard & Didriksen Pediatrics want you and your family to have a safe and fun 4th of July. We hope that you keep these tips in mind as you enjoy your Independence Day this year! Want more tips on summer safety and other health topics for kids? Be sure to regularly check out our blog for updates or contact us directly with your questions.