From Fireworks to BBQs: How to Play it Safe This 4th of July

sparklers-923029_640The 4th of July is a day to celebrate America and all that we love about it–it’s also a day full of tradition for many families.

A typical Independance Day might look like this: getting together with the whole family, having a barbeque and taking in some spectacular fireworks as night falls.

Every year, however, the fun of this summer holiday is tempered with accidental fires and injuries caused by two 4th of July standbys–fireworks and BBQ grills.

SafeKidsWorldwide says, “According to studies conducted by the Pediatric Academic Societies, over 90,000 pediatric fireworks-related injuries were treated in hospitals from 2006 to 2012. These ranged from minor burns to loss of vision to amputation of limbs.”

Nearly every state in the US currently allows the use of some form of fireworks at home, despite their clear track record of being dangerous for kids. So, if you do decide to use fireworks at home this year, there are a few important points to keep in mind, from SafeKids:

  • Be Extra Careful With Sparklers. Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Let young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
  • Take Necessary Precautions. Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks. Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass. Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
  • Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury. Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it. Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.

BBQ grills, too, are an irreplaceable element of summer but–sometimes–they can pose a very real hazard to people and property.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling every year. Does that mean you should avoid BBQing? No way! Grill safely by following these awesome tips from SafeKids:

  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
  • When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
  • Grill only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as garages or tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.

Have fun and be safe!


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