For many Americans, celebrating the 4th of July means pulling out the grill, lounging on lawn chairs, and, of course, lighting up some fireworks at the end of the day. Even John Adams, one of the most beloved Founders, insisted in a private letter to his wife that this would “be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
He was right. More than two centuries beyond the original declaration, Americans have not forgotten about their precious freedom or the men and women who still fight to protect it. Sometimes, we even hurt ourselves in celebration.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that approximately 9,000 people visited the ER as a result of July 4th fireworks in 2010. Almost all of those injuries were burns that came as a result of firecrackers, sparklers, bottle rockets and a host of other individually sold fireworks that people use on their own in the streets.
Needless to say, safety should be of the utmost importance so that no festivities have to be ended abruptly with an ambulance. Here are just a few ideas for minimizing injury: (1) Read the labels, (2) Avoid having young children handle fireworks, especially knowing that loose clothing can easily be flammable, (3) Only allow older children to use fireworks under adult supervision, and (4) Keep a bucket of water close by for the rare occasion that a small fire braeks out and a quick solution is needed.
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