02 Jul Keep Safe this July 4th! By Kelly Christ, North Shore Child & Family Guidance intern
This summer’s 4th of July celebrations across the country will certainly look different than any year before. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, most major firework displays have been cancelled to prevent large gatherings that could spread the virus.
While many states have elected to forgo public firework displays altogether, some have attempted to innovate. New York City’s famous Macy’s 4th of July fireworks have been “reimagined” this year, and they are taking place over the course of six nights. With an element of surprise, the fireworks displays will be unannounced and brief, thus avoiding any large gatherings that could increase exposure to COVID-19.
As Independence Day celebrations are kept small, there is a possibility that some families will attempt to have their own fireworks display. This, of course, poses quite a safety concern — especially when those handling the fireworks are not fully aware of the safety precautions necessary to mitigate risks.
Recently, news outlets have reported an uptick in illegal fireworks across New York State, and some neighborhoods have been reporting complaints about the fireworks since May. Though this year may not have the professional firework displays we normally attend, it is not worth the risk to attempt your own display. The dangers to yourself, your family and your neighborhood are too great. Instead, watch television programs of fireworks or provide your children with safer options such as glow lights for after-sunset fun.
Another issue: Many children are afraid of the loud noises from the fireworks. If there are firework displays in your neighborhood over which you have no control, keep your kids in a safe area and comfort them about their concerns. Assure them that they are safe and that their fears are understandable. If necessary, keep your child in an especially quiet part of the house or give them headphones that can block the noise.
It is also important to remember that our pets are often quite scared of fireworks as well. Be sure to keep them inside and ensure that they are in a protected, secure location to prevent injury or escape.
Please keep the safety of your family and neighborhood in mind as you decide how to celebrate the holiday. While fireworks may be an exciting spectacle, they are not worth the potential risks that could come if mishandled. The loss of some of the most popular July 4th firework displays this year can certainly be disappointing, but safety must come first. Use this as an opportunity to innovate and create new traditions for your family to celebrate the holiday! Some potential ideas may be:
- Use safer alternatives to fireworks or sparklers for children such as glow sticks or watching televised firework displays.
- Bake or cook new recipes with your children to have them be involved in a hands-on way with the traditional barbecue.
- Have a competition with various backyard games that the whole family can play (perhaps it can become an annual tournament!).
- Call or video chat with loved ones who cannot attend the celebration.
This will also set a great example for your children as they learn to make the most out of the situation and look on the bright side.
For some important tips on how to keep your family safe during fireworks celebrations, kidshealth.org provides a great list for parents to follow. For more safety tips for the summer For some important tips on how to keep your family safe during fireworks celebrations, kidshealth.org provides a great list for parents to follow. For more safety tips for the summer season, visit the National Safety Council page on summer safety.