5 tips to keep your kids safe this Fourth of July
With all of the exciting activities that accompany Fourth of July traditions, it can be easy for parents to overlook important safety precautions. By keeping a few key Fourth of July safety tips in mind, parents can help keep children safe while still indulging in holiday fun.
Leave fireworks to the experts.
While certain types of fireworks are permitted in Arizona, the National Fire Protection Association opposes consumer use of fireworks. Illegal firecrackers account for 16 percent of firework related injuries, most commonly injuring hands, faces, eyes, ears and legs. Despite following proper safety protocols, accidents can happen, potentially resulting in lifelong disfigurement and injuries.
Choosing to visit a public firework display will help ensure that safety precautions are being followed and risks are minimized. It’s best to stay within designated areas and leave the show to the professionals.
Keep sparklers off limits.
Sparklers can surpass 1200 °F, which is a temperature 400 °F greater than the melting point of glass. In recent years, sparklers accounted for 28 percent of emergency room visits due to fireworks related injuries. The fiery sticks burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns and inflict devastating damage.
It’s difficult for children to comprehend the danger that sparklers pose, especially when presented as a holiday toy. Glow sticks are a fun and safe alternative for children who have their heart set on extra holiday dazzle.
Be sensitive to your child’s feelings.
Some children are joyfully mesmerized by the sight of fireworks painting the night sky, but others can be overwhelmed by fear. Rumbling booms and cracks, in combination with a flickering bright sky, can cause children to feel sensory overload. Intense sights, crowds and sounds can simply be too much for young children to handle.
If you anticipate that your child may feel fearful their first time watching fireworks, keep plans brief and provide earplugs to help ease stimulation. Prepare your child with knowledge of what to expect to alleviate potential anxiety, and never push them to “get over it” if they are feeling frightened. Don’t be shy to head home and try again next year.
Enforce pool safety during pool parties and barbecues.
Traditional Fourth of July celebrations typically involve basking in the sun at pool parties, the lake and other bodies of water. Remember, children must be supervised around bodies of water 100 percent of the time.
Sunblock, hydration and supervision are all essential pool safety precautions that help keep the day fun and safe. Always make sure that adults take turns in shifts every 15-30 minutes as designated “water watchers.”
Don’t forget about barbecue safety.
Create a barbecue-only zone of three feet on all sides that is restricted to be a space designated for adults. Children should be reminded that a grill is not a toy, and that the equipment is both hot and dangerous. Teach your child to treat the grilling area as if it were a kitchen.
Always grill in a well-ventilated area. Be prepared for an emergency by having a fire extinguisher and a spray bottle of water on-hand.
Questions? Call the free Birth to Five Helpline at 877-705-KIDS (5437)
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All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.