How to Have a Happy—and Safe—Fourth of July
The Fourth of July is right around the corner, so you know what that means. Festive red, white, and blue decorations and dessert? Absolutely. American flag? Check. Hot dogs? Double check. Fireworks? Triple check. Fireworks are practically synonymous with celebrating Independence Day, and there's nothing like watching sparkling and colorful starbursts streaming across the night's sky after a long day spent swimming, eating, drinking and being merry. But, the excitement of a fireworks display or lighting that first firecracker can also bring danger—if not handled properly.
Thankfully, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is here to demonstrate their best practices and the proper precautions to take when using fireworks this Fourth of July weekend. Every year, ahead of the holiday, the trusted organization performs safety demos on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to help Americans and firecracker enthusiasts avoid serious accidents and burns. Here are their 12 suggested safety tips:
Don't ever allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Check local laws and only use legal, consumer-grade fireworks.
When in doubt, leave professional fireworks to the professionals.
Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishaps.
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
And if you missed the live broadcast and press conference this morning, here's the U.S. CPSC's re-enactment of potentially dangerous situations involving fireworks:
WATCH: Firework Hot Dogs
Always remember to be smart and think safety first. These simple tips will ensure you and the entire family have a fun Fourth of July filled with plenty of fireworks splendor.