Fireworks can be a blast! Literally! For well over a century, Americans have used fireworks in one form or another to celebrate the 4th of July.
More than 200 years later, we still celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence by lighting up the night sky with brilliantly-colored fire. But playing with fire can come with deadly consequences; especially for kids.
The Dangers of Fireworks
Data compiled by the National Fire Protection Association shows "more than 19,500 reported fires are caused by fireworks annually." The NFPA further reports kids ages 5 to 9, followed by those ages 10 to 19, account for nearly half of the reported fires on the 4th of July.
Fireworks also pose a number of serious health and safety threats. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Committee, eye injuries, to include blindness, devastating burns to the hands, feet, and face, and even the loss of fingers and hands are caused by fireworks purchased legally by consumers. Injuries from fireworks send 3,400 children ages 15 years and under to the emergency room each year.
The 4th of July's Most Unsuspecting Hazard
By now, the risks associated with mortars and bottle rockets are pretty well-known. Less known, however, are the dangers posed by sparklers. For many kids, the easy-to-hold fire sticks aren't as scary as bigger and louder fireworks like Roman Candles.
But what most kids and their parents don't know, however, is that sparklers have a burning point of 2,000 degrees! If sparklers get hot enough to melt certain metals, imagine the sort of damage they can do to tiny hands. If your imagination needs a little help, the NFPA reports a quarter of all emergency room visits on the 4th are caused by sparklers.
Safe Sparkler Alternatives
To help your kid skip a trip to the emergency room this 4th of July, let them play with these fun and safe sparkler alternatives:
- Battery-operated lanterns
- Ribbon sticks
- Light-up wands