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Keep The Kids (and Their Fingers!) Safe During Firework Season

May 2nd, 2016

Summertime, when the livin’ is easy and the fireworks are driving you crazy.

Sparklers, firecrackers, cherry bombs and all manner of fireworks are part of the summer scene, and they do add to the festivities of family barbecues or late nights on the lake. They also account for hundreds of ER visits each year, and when you combine kids and fireworks, you’ve got a potentially dangerous situation.

How can you keep your kids – and their fingers — safe this summer season? We’ve done a little research for you, and found some things to keep in mind:

Little kids and sparklers are a dangerous combination. Sparklers don’t explode, so some parents ‘start off’ small children with sparklers. Bad idea. Sparklers can heat up to 1,200 degrees (hot enough to melt glass), and kids’ short arms can’t hold them at a safe enough distance. Our recommendation: give your kids glow sticks instead.

Lighting up is not kid’s play. Even small firecrackers can cause injuries because they have to be lit. That means matches and lighters, and if you don’t let your kids play with either at home, why hand them over when fireworks are involved? Never let your child light fireworks. That’s your job.

Be a good role model. Don’t joke around with fireworks. As the adult in charge, your role is to teach kids to be careful around fireworks and be safe, rather than sorry. Be sure you all stand back at a safe distance, and don’t put charges in cans or bottles to make a better show. In the event of a dud, steer clear of it for at least 20 minutes, to ensure it doesn’t go off in a curious child’s hand.

Adult supervision is essential. If older children are allowed a package of fireworks to light on their own, responsible adults need to keep a watchful eye. And note we used the term “responsible.” Uncle Fred after a few beers is not the guy to assign to watch your kids. Designate someone you trust to keep a watchful eye, or do it yourself.

And once the show’s over? Dispose of all fireworks materials in a metal trash can, after you’ve wet down all those spent firecrackers and rockets. Keep them away from buildings, sheds, or other combustible material until the next day, then dispose of them properly.

Some safety experts suggest skipping family fireworks altogether, in favor of attending a local fireworks display, or allowing kids to use bang snaps, or poppers, that produce a mini-explosion with an audible pop that won’t hurt or burn a child’s skin.