The Fourth of July is just around the corner, bringing us a weekend filled with fun, family, friends, and – of course – fireworks! While fireworks are both a festive and beautiful addition to any celebration, it is important to remember basic safety, especially for children who are present.
As always, your doctors at Pediatrics East are here to answer any questions you may have about your child’s health and safety. To help you best prepare for a busy holiday weekend, we have compiled a few tips to make your celebration happy and stress-free.
Follow these steps, and your firework celebration is sure to be a blast!
Families across the country celebrate the Fourth of July differently. If you choose to celebrate with your own fireworks at home or on vacation, be sure to follow all local laws.
We recommend leaving fireworks to the professionals; luckily, the Memphis area has plenty of ways for you to enjoy the best of the holiday and avoid fireworks at home. Check out a full list of fun options from the I Love Memphis blog, and find a celebration that is best for you.
In Their Shoes
Before making your holiday plans, consider your child’s perspective. Is your child easily scared? Very adventurous? Sensitive to loud or bright stimuli? For a little one, fireworks, especially when seen and heard for the first time, can evoke a range of emotions.
To prepare them for the experience, give your kids some ground rules. Remind them that fireworks are loud, bright, and, above all, fun when adults are in charge.
Just For Grown-Ups
On that note, remember that handling fireworks is a job for adults only. No matter what types of fireworks are present, adults should be mindful of the danger fireworks can cause. Did you know that a single sparkler, a popular choice among kids, can burn at more than 1,200 degrees? This level of heat can cause third-degree burns and fires, if not fully extinguished.
An easy tip is to assign one adult to be in charge of all fireworks. This way, kids will know to approach the designated adult for questions, help, and to wait for the adult’s permission. This rule is especially helpful for thrill-seeking teens, who may be more likely to get their hands on fireworks! Keep all fireworks in a sealed box until it is time for the show to start.
Space It Out
A key element to firework safety is space, both in distance and time. Be sure to give the firework time to go off. If it seems to be a dud, do not attempt to reignite the fuse – this could cause a bigger explosion. It is also recommended that you light fireworks and sparklers one at a time.
Along with timing, it is important to give sufficient distance when using fireworks. Remind kids who are watching fireworks to stay back. If you want to take additional precautions, you can give your child protective eyewear to ward off any stray sparks.
As mentioned, sparklers are a favorite among kids, but they also result in most firework-related injuries. Keep kids at least 6 feet apart when they are playing with sparklers; you can also give them gloves to reduce the risk of burns on their hands. Please note that children under the age of five should not have their own sparkler.
An important rule of thumb for fireworks is to have ready access to water. Keep these three water rules in mind:
- Have a bucket filled with water handy. The bucket is particularly useful as a place for used sparklers. By putting the sparklers in water, you ensure that the sparkler is fully extinguished, so you can then throw them in the trash without risking a fire.
- If possible, have a hose nearby. You never know when a fire can get unruly, and it is best to have a steady water supply available.
- In the event that your child is burned, you also need cool water – not cold water or ice – to soothe the burn.
Above all, remember that our team at Pediatrics East is available to answer any questions or concerns you have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or consult your child’s doctor.
We wish you a very safe and Happy Independence Day, filled with good food, lots of laughs, and many warm memories.