Moms Speak: Keeping Kids Safe on Fourth of July

The Fourth of July can and should be a time of joy and celebration. But at the same time, the risks need to be weighed in. This is especially true for parents. Did you know that in 2008, over 7,000 people went to the emergency room for fireworks-related injuries? Even more significant is that over half of the reported injuries were in children. I talked to moms around the United States to find out what they considered keeping kids safe on Independence Day.

“I just constantly tell my son that little boys who play with fireworks lose their fingers and hands. Mother of the year!” – Loki, Chicago, Ill.

“We have a family celebration where the kids are all carefully supervised with very small fireworks. This way they can have fun, enjoy the holiday, and not scare years off our lives.” – Amy, Seattle, Wash.

“We leave the fireworks to the professionals. We live in a city and there is a burn ban and wildfire warnings in effect. We will not be using fireworks of any kind, including sparklers this year but we will watch a professional show. We will also use water safety caution and protect them from sunburns as well.” – Lisa, Austin, Texas

“We rarely light many fireworks for the Fourth of July, but the only ones the kids are allowed to touch are sparklers, and we are super careful with those. Any other fireworks will be lit by adults! We usually have fun watching what everyone else lights off anyway.” – Katie, Vancouver, Wash.

“As the mom of a child with autism, we tend to stay away from crowds and loud noises all year long. So staying safe on the Fourth of July for us means it is just like any other day. We discuss what the Fourth of July means and do crafts but the firecrackers, parades and sparklers just are not an issue for us.” – Tracy, Petal, Miss.

“My biggest worry over holiday weekends is traveling by car. There are usually so many accidents that occur over the holiday weekend, and it is frightening. As is usual, I will be strapping my 2 year old in his car seat and my 4 year old in his booster seat. Safety is the absolute priority when traveling, no matter how short the distance.” – Amanda, Philadelphia, Penn.

“I make sure they don’t idiotically set off a bottle rocket or two which is destined to land on the neighbor’s roof and don’t fall for the question: ‘but aren’t you glad it wasn’t our roof that was full of smoke?’ I stand near them when they apologize to the neighbors in case the neighbors go ballistic. I also limit experiments like wanting to ‘see what will happen’ if they throw lit cherry bombs into a sink of water (the sink and pipes fall down loudly). Basically, it comes down to 3 rules: don’t hurt yourself or anyone else, don’t hurt anyone’s home (inside or out), and don’t throw clumps of fireworks in large or small bodies of water, from swimming pools to creeks.” – Jan, Indianapolis, Ind.

“To keep the kids safe we talk to them about fireworks being pretty but hot like the stove. They are told they are only for daddy to do – not kids and kept at a safe distance from them.” – Sophia, Mesa, Ariz.

More from Lyn:

Celebrating Fourth of July with Small Animals in the House

How to Select Safe Toys for Children

Child Safety: Car Seat Tips for Parents