July 4th Sparkler Safety | Working Mother

July 4th Sparkler Safety

Lots of us give our kids sparklers (and other novelty fireworks) as we take part in Independence Day celebrations, which can be fun—if you follow the rules.

Photo: Pixabay

When the sun sets on Independence Day, all over the U.S. the dark sky transforms into a colorful display of fireworks. How best to enjoy it? Leave the bigger fireworks to the professionals, says Wisconsin-based family physician Ruta M. Pakalns, MD. Want to use sparklers? A 2009 report from the National Council on Fireworks Safety indicated that sparklers are responsible for 16 percent of legal firework-related injuries in the U.S. So be sure your kids are old enough and safe enough. Here, seven rules to follow.

  • Children under 12 should not handle sparklers (or other novelty fireworks like snakes, poppers and pop pop snappers) if a parent or guardian is not present to assist. Even teens should be monitored, and young children shouldn't handle them at all.
  • To protect everyone's toes, be sure that you and your child are wearing closed shoes if handling sparklers—no flip flops or sandals.
  • Create a distance between yourself and others prior to lighting sparklers. Stand at least 6 feet away from others and light only one sparkler at a time.
  • When using sparklers with others, refrain from passing around lit ones to avoid burns.
  • Always keep you hands free of other items and focus on holding the sparkler at arm’s length, away from your and others' face, body and clothing. Sparklers can ignite clothing.
  • When the flame on the sparkler has subsided, drop the sparkler in a canister of water to cool, since a sparkler can stay hot long after the flame is out.
  • Do not attempt to relight sparklers that have already been used.

For more fireworks and sparkler safety tips visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety.