As a child, our family bought fireworks to set off on July 4th. Every year I remember having firecrackers, smoke bombs, bottle rockets, snaps, and a parachute. My brothers and I took our lit punks and set them off around the farm. Once the fireworks were blown up, the fun was done and we were back to our regular summer day activities.
When I was 6 years old, my attitude about fireworks changed drastically. I remember spending the morning setting off fireworks with my brothers. We had a big farm, so we went all over the place with our assortment of firecrackers and bottle rockets. We knew to use punks, and to run away. But honestly, I don’t know if we paid attention to things like vehicles and farm equipment. We must have, but maybe we were lucky…
We came into the house to get ready for a family picnic and the news was on. The story was about a couple of girls who accidentally set their garage on fire setting off fireworks. At least one was dead and the other was severely injured. I will never forget that news cast. Suddenly, I became very scared of something that minutes ago was innocent fun.
Flash forward a few years, and I hated those things more. Once, my brother was throwing lit firecrackers and one exploded on my leg. I still have a scar. The older I grew, the less I liked them. For a while, I didn’t even care to go to firework shows.
Needless to say, when we moved to Maine I was relieved that fireworks were illegal. Other than public shows, I had no use for them. Those years were short-lived and in a blink of an eye, we were back in Nebraska raising our kids.
Now that my kids are school aged, and they have seen many peers setting off fireworks, it’s time to start buying them. I still hate them with a passion. On the other hand, I have two very curious, strong-willed kids. They need to know how to do it, and I’m the one that should teach them.
I want to make sure they know and have practiced fireworks safety. They won’t understand how to do it, unless I teach them.
*They need to know to have a bucket of water close by
*Shoot on concrete AWAY from houses and cars
*Never try to take apart or light a dud firework
*ALWAYS make sure an adult is supervising them
The National Council of Firework Safety has other tips:
*Follow local laws and use COMMON SENSE (Face it, we have to teach our kids “common sense.”)
*Do not mix fireworks and alcohol
*Buy from a reputable reseller
*Do not carry fireworks in your pocket
*Wear safety goggles when lighting them
*Have a designated adult shooter for a home fireworks show
Also, because these are “fun” and expensive, I’m setting a budget before we go to the stand. The kids understand that we have a budget and if they want more, they need to bring their own money. I also have veto power on any purchase. Since I’m the adult responsible, I have to be comfortable with doing it.
While I would love to ignore this tradition all together; I’m not going to because my kids need to know how to be responsible. It’s my job to keep them safe in the years to come.
I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday. Happy birthday to the United States of America!