Fourth of July Safety Tips
To assist parents and families, the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) extends these tips to help everyone enjoy the Fourth of July and celebrations on the holiday.
- Firework displays can be loud and scare children, particularly small children. Talk to youngsters about what will happen – bright colors in the dark sky, loud booms and lots of people cheering. Consider bringing sound-deafening headphones for youngsters. Have a plan if one child gets too scared, starts crying and has to go home. Can other children be left with their other parent or other adults? How will they get home? Remind them to stay together.
- Set a good example for your children and do not purchase or display illegal fireworks. Enjoy professional firework displays put on by local fire departments.
- Remind older children that personal fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts because they are dangerous. Injuries from fireworks include 2nd and 3rd degree burns that require emergency medical attention, weeks of rehabilitation and plastic surgery or permanent scarring. Explain that personal fireworks have killed people and that is why they are illegal in Massachusetts.
- Plan what you are doing over the holiday ahead of time and share the schedule with your children. Cook-outs, parades, fireworks, going to the beach and other activities are great fun but can be overwhelming for youngsters and make for a long day.
- If you have toddlers and small children, make sure they get their naps in and eat well to lessen the struggles of being in crowds, staying up late and taking in all the activities.
- Make sure your child is dressed appropriately (cool clothes for hot days, hat for sunny days, sweatshirt for cool nights) and has on good footwear to walk in parades, watch parades, visit fairs and carnivals, and walk through town to events.
- Use sunscreen and bug spray to protect your children and yourself from the sun and insects. Make sure that sunscreen and bug spray are formulated for infants and children.
- If the weather is hot, make sure children drink plenty of liquids – water, sports drinks that will keep them hydrated.
- Know the signs of dehydration: thirst, fatigue, irritability, dry mouth and feeling hot. Children have more body surface area per pound of weight than adults. This makes children more prone to heat illness. Your child will become dehydrated faster than you will.
- Never leave a child unattended in or around cars. As you load and unload the car with coolers, chairs, umbrellas and other items, make sure children are near you and holding hands. Do not move the car until you are sure where each child is and no one is behind or in front of the car.
- Be a patient driver. Watch out for other children as they walk to and from fireworks as you move your car.
- Children want to keep up with all the excitement and fun. Help them in and out of cars, making sure they do not catch fingers in the car door or fall down.
- When walking in crowds, make sure children hold hands and everyone is accounted for and staying together. Do not let them run ahead in the street, even if it is full of pedestrians. It is still a street, leading to other streets, and cars may be driving on it.
- When driving in crowds, watch out for strollers, which are pushed ahead of the adult, and for children of all ages who forget that although the street is full of pedestrians, cars are also backing out and driving along it.
- For older children who go off with friends, ask with whom they will be, where they are going and set a check-in time and curfew.
This information was compiled by Sunindia Bhalla, and reviewed by the Program Staff of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund.