Sparklers: Are they safe for kids?
If you think the 4th of July wouldn't be the same without sparklers, you're right. Chances are it would be a lot safer, especially for kids. Here's why:
Sparklers burn at dangerously high temperatures—hot enough to melt glass. That means they can cause serious burns in an instant.
Every year in the U.S., more than 3,000 kids under the age of 15 are rushed to emergency rooms with injuries—some of them life-threatening—from fireworks. And sparklers are to blame for one-third of the injuries in children under five.
The best way to protect your family is to not use sparklers or other fireworks at home. Leave lighting fireworks to professionals—and ooh and ahh at a public fireworks show instead.
Eight fun 4th of July activities for kids
Skipping the home show this Independence Day doesn't mean you can't have a blast with your family. There are plenty of safe, kid-friendly 4th of July activities that can brighten your celebration. Here's a sampling:
1. Bring on the boom and bright. Let your kids light up the night with flashlights or glow sticks. Hand out some noisemakers too—they're easy to find at party supply stores. Or have kids make their own by tossing dried beans in a bottle they can decorate themselves.
2. Take in nature's light display. When the sun goes down, explore the night sky together. Head out with a star chart, and look for the Big Dipper, North Star and nearby planets.
3. Organize a patriotic pet parade. Get the neighborhood kids together for a trot around the block with their favorite four-legged friends. They can deck out pets—and themselves—in red, white and blue. Kids who want to pedal can decorate their bikes with crepe paper or pompoms too.
4. Get creative in the kitchen. Let kids use a star-shaped cookie cutter to make watermelon snacks. Or have them layer low-fat vanilla yogurt, blueberries and strawberries for a 4th of July parfait that's tasty and healthy.
5. Let the games begin. Set up a relay race in your yard. Or play soccer or softball at a nearby park with family and friends. Ready to cool down? Visit a local splash park.
6. Blow your bubble. Just add food coloring to bottles of bubble mixture. How about a red vs. blue bubble fight? See what happens when everyone wears white T-shirts.
7. Whack a piñata. If you don't want kids to fill up on Yankee-Doodle candy, stuff a patriotic piñata with red, white and blue fruit snacks instead.
8. Spiff up your sidewalks. Pass around a tub of sidewalk chalk, and see who can create the best Independence Day artwork.
Find more inspiration
For more healthy ideas that fit your life, visit our Healthy Living library.