Fireworks safety for your family

ThinkstockPhotos-179134646Fireworks are beautiful and fun. They are often used at celebrations and on holidays.

Yet, as an advocate for children’s safety and a pediatrician, I am all too aware that accidents happen—but there are ways we can protect our children from the dangers and still enjoy our festivities.

First, igniting fireworks should be left to adults. Adults, are also at risk of having an accident, so any and all precautions should be taken. Adults should also be aware of local and state laws regarding fireworks before purchasing and setting off fireworks. If you’ve done this and are ready to start your celebration, children should be encouraged to watch the fireworks and not help. Having them a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being lit, is one way to avoid injury from any mishaps.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends that if you are going to use fireworks that you use them outdoors away from flammable materials, overhead obstructions, buildings or vehicles. It’s also a good idea to have a water source available in case of a fire.

To dispose of used fireworks, the National Council on Fireworks Safety, recommends wetting the fireworks, placing them in a metal trash can away from any building and waiting a day to dispose of the materials.

For yours and your children’s safety, read the cautionary labels on your fireworks before you ignite them.

If participating in your family’s fireworks display is a battle between you and your children, here are a few alternatives.

  • Bubbles. If age appropriate, buy bubbles and let them enjoy seeing who can produce the most bubbles or who can create the biggest bubble.
  • Sidewalk chalk. Ask your children to use their creativity and draw a fireworks display.
  • Glow sticks. If you are celebrating outdoors, give your children glow sticks to wear when the sun goes down. (Read the safety labels on these as well and make sure the product is age appropriate.)
  • Silly string or confetti. This can be fun and colorful (and only a bit messy to clean up). You can find confetti poppers which give your children the sights and the sounds.

Teaching your children responsible fireworks safety now will prepare them for later, and it helps everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Fireworks 2016

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About Heather Felton, M.D.

Dr. Heather Felton is medical director of UofL Pediatrics – Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre. She is also an assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She is a member of the American Medical Association, Kentucky Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and Group of Women in Medicine and Science. Her specialty is pediatrics. Dr. Felton’s areas of interest include safety and injury prevention; improving anticipated guidance provided to families during check-ups; and advocating for children’s safety. http://www.uoflphysicians.com/uofl-pediatrics-sam-swope-kosair-charities-centre

All posts by Heather Felton, M.D.