July Fourth is one of my favorite holidays made that much more special by our annual tradition of spending it with some very dear friends. I love all aspects of the holiday. What is more American than watching a parade, grilling out, and then enjoying a few fireworks in the yard? Apparently, getting injured by those same fireworks is a very American thing to do.
A quick glance at the Johns Hopkins Pediatric website certainly made me think twice about allowing any fireworks at all at our celebration. Did you know that 44% of those involved in fireworks injuries are children? Did you know that sparklers are the second highest cause of fireworks injuries? Not to be a downer, but with wonderful public fireworks displays available in Huntsville and North Alabama, I don’t see a need to take any risks.
Advice From a Local Pro
Still, I know there are many who just can’t resist a good snap, crackle, and bang of their very own. So I visited with Shane Manaseo of TNT Fireworks on University Drive for her suggestions for fireworks that were safe enough that a mom like me wouldn’t worry if her children were around them. Around them, not holding them.
My daughter is only three and the National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends that no children under 12 handle fireworks of any kind. With that in mind, Manaseo pointed me to an entire section devoted to what they call Novelty fireworks. The no-fire Pop-Its and Booby Traps, the old-fashioned Colored Snakes, the Chicken that Lays Eggs and of course, the parachutes and sparklers. Even with these fireworks, it’s important to remember the following safety tips for a fun and safe holiday.
Fireworks Safety Checklist a.k.a. Don’t Be THAT Parent
- Have water in buckets nearby. My family teases me about this but they weren’t laughing that one time when we really needed it…
- Never let young children handle sparklers. Kids that do handle sparklers should NOT wear flip flops – I speak from experience. My 5 year-old had a smoldering sparkler tip get caught between his toes and ended up with a 3rd degree burn. I felt AWFUL.
- Have a designated spot to light the fireworks safely. This place should be a good distance away from the roofs of houses and trees. Everyone who has gathered to watch the fireworks should maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet.
- Do not let children light the fireworks. The fireworks should only be lit by an adult who is not under the influence of alcohol.
- If a firework does not go off, do not touch it. Wait about 25 minutes and then soak it in water.
- Keep pets inside – their hearing is much more sensitive to the sounds of fireworks. They could easily sprint free and become wounded or lost.
- Clean up when you are done. You want to make sure that all of your fireworks are accounted for so that a child does not find an unlit firework and then causes an accident.
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.