Playing with Fire

Don't forget it's still fire

Fourth of July is typically a time of family gatherings and fun-filled outdoor activities to celebrate our nation’s freedom. But for many, celebration can quickly turn to sadness when a child is injured. Hospital emergency departments see an increase in preventable injuries to children over the Fourth of July.

Fireworks are a leading cause of injury during this holiday, and children account for one half of all firework-related injuries.

Why do parents who would normally guard their child from a three-hundred-degree oven hand them a one-thousand-degree sparkler? Is it because parents are so distracted by the beauty of the sparkles that they forget it’s still fire?

Sparklers are responsible for the vast majority of legal firework-related injuries. Parents, you can reduce the risk of injury by following some very basic safety tips:

  • Do not allow children under the age of 12 to use sparklers without very close adult supervision
  • Do not allow children to wave a sparkler
  • Do not allow children to run while holding a sparkler
  • Never light more than one sparkler at a time
  • Drop spent sparklers directly into a bucket of water

I know, it wouldn’t be a Fourth of July celebration without the sights, sounds, and smells of fireworks. But to get the most enjoyment out of this traditional activity, please be safe and protect your children from firework-related injuries.

As you prepare for this holiday I’d like to know what are some precautions you take to keep your kids safe?

Kristi Moline is the Injury Prevention Manager for Trauma Services at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

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