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Teaching Fire Safety to Your Toddler on the 4th of July
Author: Melissa Maypole
We all want our little ones to have some fun on the fourth, and often the pursuit of fun on this particular day involves fireworks. Although ordinarily, few of us would even consider handing a flaming stick to our preschooler, there's something about Independence Day that necessitates such an action in reasonable, responsible families across the nation. Before you get too carried away however, review the following fire-safety guidelines with your child and your guests prior to the festivities.
- Use common sense.
Unfortunately, the party atmosphere that goes along with 4th of July celebrations sometimes overrides any modicum of common sense. Don't let this happen at your party, especially if your toddler is attending. Some general guidelines to follow include keeping a safe distance, never drinking alcohol and lighting fireworks simultaneously, and reading and following the instructions on the packages before lighting the fireworks. Overall, remember safety comes first, even at a party.
- Emphasize that fireworks are for adults only.
I know it's tempting, but don't allow your toddler to play with any kind of firework-- sparklers included. Though they may seem innocent enough, they get very, very hot, and when wielded by a rambunctious tot, they can also be very, very dangerous. Your child can still participate in the activities in a way that is not a risk to his safety. Consider giving him a pom-pom or party-blower instead; these festive items are just as much fun, and much more age-appropriate.
- Consider attending a professional display.
The Prevent Blindness America organization insists that the only safe way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional show. You may or may not agree, but you have to admit that these professional displays tend to be a lot more impressive than the ones we hold in our own backyards. If you want to absolutely ensure that your toddler is protected from a fireworks-related injury, consider moving the celebration to a public venue; then, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
- Use the occasion to teach your child about fire safety.
Independence Day is the perfect time to start teaching your youngster about fire safety. As soon as they're able to understand how to follow other household instructions, they're old enough for fire-safety instruction as well. When this time comes for your toddler, make sure you're prepared to teach him the proper guidelines. If you're crafty enough, you can even make it fun. Remember, the more engaged your child is in the “lesson,” the more likely he'll be to remember the rules.
According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, nearly 10,000 trips to the emergency room are made each year for injuries related to fireworks. Don't let your toddler become part of this statistic. Use common sense and, despite your celebratory mood, practice the same degree of safety and prevention on Independence Day as you would any other day of the year. When the show is over, and things get back to normal (minus a hospital visit), you'll be glad you did.