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Fireworks or No Fireworks for the kids?

 

Dear Obsessive Mother's Guide to Parenting,

Would you settle something for us? My husband thinks the kids (5 & 7) are old enough to shoot off fireworks on Wednesday. I don't. At what age is shooting fireworks okay?

Sincerely,

Pamela of Conroe

 

Dear Pamela,

         Great question.  The first gut reaction is: it's never safe.  The people who run professional shows have serious training and emergency teams in place for any eventuality.  Just go enjoy the shows around town.  But let's explore a middle path of compromise with your husband and a concept of truly educating your children.  It's only through education and growth that we prepare our kids for the future.  Over-protecting them doesn't do them any favors when they're grown and helpless.

         So we move to firework safety (see the list below)**.  Work together with your husband to education your kids on firework safety and the risk factors (fire, death, dismemberment, hearing loss, burns, etc, not to be scary, but to be honest about what they're getting into).  Design a plan for safely shooting off the fireworks with emergency procedures in place for any problems.  Is there an experienced firework shooter available to assist you?  Once you and your husband are absolutely comfortable with the circumstance and willing to take full responsibility for any issues, start small.  No need to put on a grand finale this year.  See how they handle this first attempt and build from there. 

(**this is completely at your own risk and no liability will be assumed on our part.  We will be watching the professional show from a safe distance.)

Here are the top tips from http://www.fireworksafety.com/

Use fireworks outdoors only.

Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).

Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.

Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.

Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated shooter."

Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.

Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.

Be very careful as you venture into this sparkly and dangerous adventure and as always, Happy Obsessive Parenting!

Sincerely,

The Obsessive Mother's Guide to Parenting

If you have a question you'd like answered, send it to obsessivemothersguide@gmail.com and look for your answer in upcoming columns.