For as long as you can probably remember, you’ve associated Fourth of July celebrations with colorful fireworks. There’s nothing quite like seeing the night sky lit up like that… but what do you do about fireworks when you have kids? Mixing the two is no laughing matter, seeing as more than 30% of the 5200 injuries related to fireworks each year involve children. Whether you’re worried about your own little ones or the children of your party guests, there are more than a few things to keep in mind this holiday.
We’ve come up with a no-fail list for firework safety this Fourth of July. Scroll through to see how to keep little ones out of harm’s way.
Think about going firework-free
If there are going to be children at your Fourth of July shindig, the best option may just be foregoing fireworks altogether. Although sparklers are not specifically designated as fireworks, you may want to think about ruling them out, too. You see, if you set an age limit as to who can use them, someone is going to feel left out. If you’re the parent, are you going to let the older child play with them and not the others? Instead of having to make difficult decisions, you can eliminate them altogether.
PS: You should always check to see which fireworks are actually legal in your state before setting anything off.
Set up a safe viewing zone
Say you’ve decided to go through with having fireworks. Rope off a section in advance far from the fireworks where kids can’t get hurt. This doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have to supervise them, but this way the kiddos know which line not to cross (literally). If you want to take even more precautions, have the children watch the show from the biggest window in the house (this way they can still partake in the celebration).
Go to a fireworks show
This is not to say that flukes don’t happen, but the people who put on these shows are professionals. The one question you should ask before attending is whether the show is “regulated.” This means that there are certain safety rules and precautions in place to protect those in the audience. And no matter what, keep children near you at all times.
Find alternative light-up gear
Kids should never play with any type of firework that explodes. Even sparklers aren’t recommended for children under the age of 7. Sparklers were actually responsible for almost 20% of firework-related injuries in 2014, so you need to take precautions. “You want to use a sparkler in an open area, and make sure children are spaced at least 10 feet apart so they’re not waving them around each other,” says Michael Ingram, director of development for Fireworks Over America and the founder and president of the American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation.
If you prefer to go flame-free, buy a bunch of light-up bracelets and necklaces, or make homemade confetti balloons that kids can pop themselves.
What are your rules for fireworks for kids? Up next: the patriotic decorations that will fancy up your Fourth.