Hopefully the title of this post catches the attention of parents and others who have preschool children in their lives. This is because personal use fireworks, including sparklers, present special safety concerns during this time of year. Somehow, during the Fourth of July festivities, parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings lose sight of the fact that fireworks can cause severe injuries to preschoolers. Amid the loud booms, the bright colors, the great food, and the laughter, common sense goes out the window.
Fireworks and Injury
Although sparklers seem like a safe choice for a preschooler, they are in fact the most dangerous type available. Why? Because they can reach temperatures of a whopping 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit! This high heat can cause terrible burns to the hands, arms, and even the face. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that children suffer approximately 45% of the injuries sustained each year from fireworks. They go on to say that, “fireworks can be associated with serious injuries such as blindness, third degree burns, and permanent scarring.”
Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
In addition to injuries sustained while using sparklers by themselves, preschoolers can also be injured due to another’s negligence. For instance, in my hometown, people gather at the riverfront up to two hours before the evening fireworks show. Along a two mile stretch of park sidewalk, families begin to have their own mini-fireworks displays. While it is both colorful and festive, it is also a dangerous situation for all. It seems as if every year the ambulance has to pick up someone from the crown who has been hit by a projectile gone astray. My advice to those with very young children: keep them away from such volatile situations.
Adults and Safety Guidelines
The Fireworks Alliance (TFA) offers several guidelines for safe fireworks use by ADULTS. For instance, they suggest that parents and other responsible adults should “always clean your area of debris after you finish using fireworks. Children have a habit of looking for unexploded fireworks. Dispose of fireworks properly.” In addition to this great tip, they have over 20 other suggestions to help make the Fourth of July fun this year… instead of tragic. In addition to the TFA, a rights organization, there are many other resources available for parents who want to keep their children safe. Use search terms such as “children and fireworks safety,” and “childhood injury prevention” for more advice.
As with any personal safety issue, the goal is to not keep a child from experiencing life. A parent or guardian wants a child to feel the patriotic spirit of the Fourth of July by experiencing the sights, sounds, and even smells of this popular holiday; however, caution and common sense must be a priority. So, please take a child to see the fireworks light up the night sky in the U.S. city of your choice! You can still have a great time by following just a few simple rules, and by being in tune with your child’s safety needs.