5 safe, kid-friendly Fourth of July activities

5 safe, kid-friendly Fourth of July activities

June 28th, 2013

By Aimee Heckel

We teach our kids not to play with fire and many dry cities have firework bans in effect to prevent potential wildfires.

Yet more than 6,000 kids end up in the hospital every year from fireworks, according to Live Science. Most of the injures were burns, but 21 percent were injures to the eyes, the report found. The biggest problem: firecrackers — 30 percent of injuries are caused by the small firework.

However, not following too far behind, accounting for 21 percent of injuries: sparklers and novelty devices.

So how can your family celebrate the Fourth of July, without putting your kids at risk?

Here are five safe, kid-friendly alternatives to potentially harmful fireworks this holiday:

1. If you want to bring out the sparklers, make sure your kids are at least 12 or older, and always closely supervise, according to PBS.org. Keep sparklers outside and away from the face, clothes and hair, according to Kidshealth.org.

Did you know sparklers get hot enough to melt gold? Not exactly kid-friendly.

2. Ditch the fire altogether and celebrate by attending a parade, waving flags, eating special food, singing patriotic songs and even checking out special theme books at the library, PBS.org recommends.

il_570xN.3510736203. Attend a public fireworks display instead of doing it at home. Make it a fun occasion: bring a picnic blanket and basket of goodies. Let your kids pick out a special new picnic basket, like this wicker summer basket on sale on Etsy.

Check out this waterproof, patriotic (reversible) blanket for less than $30 on Bonanza.com.

poppops4. Pop Pops, also known as Snappers, are one of the least dangerous “firework” options for kids. When you throw these small poppers on the ground, they make a small snapping noise. They’re safe enough for indoor use, and they’re inexpensive: only 25 cents for a box of 50.

Beware of “adult-sized” snappers (Thunder Snaps, Mighty Poppers, Black Eyed Peas); children have been reported injured from these, which have a much bigger bang.

5. Create a “child-free zone” or safety zone around any grills, fires or other potentially dangerous traditions around this holiday. Make the kid zone fun, like a grassy back yard filled with patriotic crafts, snacks and games.

July 4 is the top day of the year for grilling; never let your children cook on a grill. Read this grill-safety tip sheet from Grandparents.com before lighting up the barbie this year.

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Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at AimeeHeckel.com, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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