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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sparklers - The Surprising Dangers Of A July 4th Tradition

July 4th would not be the same without fireworks. But they are better left to the professionals. The numbers of injuries children sustain every year as a result of fireworks, firecrackers and even seemingly safe sparklers are astounding. What is even more alarming is that a quarter of the children injured are simply bystanders and half are injured while under an adult's supervision.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are about 8500 injuries related to fireworks a year and 45% are in children younger than 15. A surprising number of these injuries, 10%, are caused by sparklers.

Many parents view sparklers as a safe alternative to fireworks and a way to let even the littlest child join in the festivities. What most parents do not realize is that sparklers can reach an alarmingly high temperature of 1000° F at their tip. It is not uncommon for children to suffer from minor burns and corneal abrasions while playing with sparklers. Unfortunately, more serious injuries can result if the child's clothing catches on fire.

There are many safe alternatives to sparklers. Children can have fun in the dark with glow in the dark glow sticks. Noisemakers and party poppers popular for New Year's Eve can be fun on July 4th as well. Children often get a kick out of bubbles. Spice things up with a giant bubble wand or make tons of bubbles quickly with a bubble gun. If your children are old enough, involve them in the party planning and allow them to help decide on a fun activity for the evening.

Avoiding potentially dangerous situations can be easy when in your own home but can prove more difficult if you are going to a party at someone else's home. The simplest solution may be to offer to bring something for the kids to do so that you know the activity will be a safe one.

Have a wonderful July 4th and leave the fireworks to the professionals. You can check your local paper for a listing of shows in your area. If you live in the LA area visit www.safejuly4th.org for a list of local firework shows.

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