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Get the 4th of July celebration off with a bang! But families need to keep a lot in mind to keep everyone safe and happy with regards to the cornerstone of many festivities – fireworks.

According to National Fire Protection Agency’s (NFPA) Fireworks report by John R. Hall, Jr. (June 2011):
• In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage.
• In 2009, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries; 53% of 2009 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.
• The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 10-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population.
• On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

For a YouTube video by the NFPA on the dangers of consumer fireworks, CLICK HERE.

So whether you’re at the park, on a beach, at home or elsewhere, there are many things you can do to keep you and your family OUT of the statistics.

The American Red Cross website (www.redcross.org) has a lot of great tips regarding fireworks safety. These include:
1. Use caution around all fireworks
2. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
3. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
4. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
5. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
6. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
7. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
8. Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
9. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Want to have some fun with some more benign holiday sizzlers? Some favorites for younger kids (under the supervision of a responsible adult) include old favorites like Cracker Snaps, Smoke Bombs, Black Snakes, Sparklers and Champagne Party Poppers. All of these are “big-bang-free”.

The best plan of action for this 4th of July holiday, though? Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Most communities have some sort of fireworks display that’ll delight the young and old, alike. Be safe, be happy, be healthy.

Happy Fourth of July from the Personal Baby Products by Randesign Family!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:200508-DSCN0338.JPG)