With summer comes Independence Day, and with Independence Day comes fireworks.
While the safest way to view fireworks is at a professional show, many of us can’t resist a roadside fireworks stand. Before lighting any bottle rockets or sparklers at home this 4th of July, be sure to brush up on your safety tips.
- Stay outside—When using fireworks of any kind, be sure to use them outdoors and away from the house.
- Keep water on hand—Always have a large bucket of water or a water hose—or both—nearby just in case stray sparks get out of hand or something shoots in the wrong direction.
- Don’t re-light fireworks—Sometimes, fireworks don’t go off properly after you light the fuse. Don’t try to light it again. Instead, soak stalled fireworks in water and dispose of them.
- Never let young children handle fireworks—This is the most important tip. Young children should never be allowed to handle or light fireworks, and older children should be very closely supervised. Always have a parent or other responsible adult at hand.
Many fireworks get hot enough to melt glass, so having one burn your skin is no small matter. If playing it safe fails and an injury occurs, you should quickly go to your local urgent care center or emergency room, depending on severity. If the injury is a burn, run cool water over it before you leave your home. If it is an eye injury, don’t touch it or flush it with water—seek immediate medical attention.
Fun Fireworks Alternatives
If you don’t want to take the risk that comes with lighting fireworks, but don’t want your kids missing out on holiday fun, there are several less dangerous alternatives.
- Go see a fireworks show—Watch your local news for announcements of fireworks shows in your area.
- Glow sticks—Just as bright and fun as sparklers, glow sticks are widely available and often inexpensive. They also come without the glass-melting temperatures required to make sparklers shine.
- Glow-in-the-dark body paint—Whether you buy nontoxic body paint from the store or use one of many do-it-yourself recipes online, these paints can let your children be their own sparklers.
- Flashlights—While not quite as colorful as fireworks, flashlights can make for a great, and safe, after-dark game of tag.