As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, we should want to keep it fun and entertaining for the whole family. There are plenty of fireworks displays to see throughout the weekend (for a complete list, go to tampabay.com/things-to-do). But there will be those who want to light a firecracker, sparkler or maybe something a little more explosive to get their kicks.
Before you light up - or let someone light up something around you and your kids - you should know that in 2008 (the last year that numbers were available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), seven people died and an estimated 7,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related accidents. The majority of those accidents occurred between June 20 and July 20. More than 40 percent of those injured were children under 15 years of age; more than half (58 percent) of the injuries involved people ages 20 and younger.
It seems with all the damage that fireworks can do - whether it be to eyes, ears, hands or some other part of your body - it would be a good idea to keep your kids away from them. In 2008, fellow Whoa, Momma! blogger Sharon Kennedy Wynne came up with several tips to ensure that your family would have a bright but safe July 4th, including using glow sticks, necklaces and body lights or using every kid's favorite toy, a flashlight, to light up the night sky.
Prevent Blindness America has a few more:
- After the sun goes down, wrap those flashlights in colored cellophane to provide fun shades of light.
- Create your own noisemakers by banging wooden spoons on pots and pans. Search your house for horns, whistles and bells and other items to create a marching band.
- Make Fourth of July (non-exploding) rockets by using paper towel rolls, paint, streamers and paper cement.
- Make your own firecracker sounds by popping bubble wrap. (Find more ideas on the group's website at preventblindness.org.)
You should have fun celebrating the country's independence by not spending the night in the ER. Make sure the only rockets' red glare you see is from a professional display.
Sherry Robinson can be reached at (727) 893-8305 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Whoa, Momma! at tampabay.com/blogs/moms and on Twitter @WhoaMomma.