July 1, 2019

5 Tips for a Safe and Happy Fourth of July – Fireworks Safety

fireworks safetyBy Beverly Hopps, Safe Kids

Fireworks are often used in celebration of special events and holidays. We know fireworks are fun and little ones look adorable holding those sparklers. Unfortunately, fireworks can lead to accidents for children, including devastating burns and other injuries that lead to many families seeking emergent care on the holiday. This Fourth of July, take a little extra precaution to have a safe and happy event.

Here are some tips and reminders to have a safe and enjoyable summer with firework shows:

1. Leave fireworks to the pros. We know little ones (or kids at any age) may get ideas about putting on their own fireworks show. But the best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

2. Find a substitute for sparklers. Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Instead, encourage your young ones to use glow sticks. They can be just as fun, and they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.

3. Take necessary precautions. If you do decide to light fireworks yourself, be extra careful. Purchase fireworks from a credible source. Make sure you’re not wearing loose clothing when handling matches or fireworks. Never use fireworks indoors! Use them outside, point them away from homes and people, and steer clear of brush, leaves, dry grass and flammable substances.

4. Keep your distance. Make sure everyone is positioned far back from where fireworks are being lit. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate. Instead, have a bucket of water nearby to make sure it’s out and never try to relight a firework.

5. Be prepared and have a plan. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and make sure you know how to operate it. When you’re finished with the fireworks, douse the remains with a bucket of water before disposing of them to avoid a trash fire.

Bonus! Pet safety tips:

Did you know dogs can hear four times farther than humans? July 5 is the busiest day of the year at animal shelters due to lost pets. Keep your pets safe this Fourth of July:

  • Keep licenses, microchips and ID tags up to date
  • Let them hang out in a quiet room with door closed during parties
  • Store tempting foods out of reach
  • Stay with and comfort them during fireworks
  • Ask your vet ahead of time about meds to keep them calm

Signs that your pet might be experiencing stress and anxiety are panting, drooling, pacing, hiding, decreased appetite, abnormal urination or defecation, dilated pupils, excessive grooming and excessive yawning.

Beverly Hopps is an educator with Safe Kids WNC for Mission Health.