Injury Free Fourth 🇺🇸💥

By: Jennifer Lonergan

When I was younger, my neighbors threw a fantastic July 4th cookout. They had a huge yard. Plus, with their home being at the end of a dead end street, it was a perfect location with plenty of room for the whole neighborhood to attend.


The Sights:

A yellow home with a long, big driveway and a yard to match. 

Red, white and blue decorations and outfits. 

Groups of grown ups standing around. 

Children running through sprinklers.

The Sounds:

Chatter and laughter from the adults.

Shrieks of delight from the children.

The tick, tick, tick from the sprinklers.

The Smells:

Charcoal briquettes and BBQ.

Suntan lotion.

Citronella  (in anticipation of unwelcome evening visitors).

These senses carried on into the night with some new ones added in.

Evening Sights:

A fire has been lit.

Groups of grown ups sitting down.

Most children still running around, toddlers asleep in parents’ arms.


Young men in a circle planning….

Evening Sounds:

Chatter and laughter from the adults.

Children whispering behind grown ups backs, giggles.

Oldies playing on a boom box.

A truck door opening, rustling of a bag, door closes….

Evening Smells:

Only additional smell, MORE citronella, until…

A match is struck,

A spark ignites,

WHOOSH! Something shoots up into the sky, BOOM! Color and light fill the sky. 

Sleeping toddlers wake up, looks of surprise and smiles appear on faces, chatter and laughter are replaced with “oohs and aaaahs”. 

A new smell, smoke.

Our own private fireworks show. To me as a child, it was pure magic. 

As an adult, some magic fades away. It is inevitable. You cannot stop having experiences, meeting new people and hearing about other life lessons and not take precautions.

The idea of fireworks as celebration for our independence was first introduced in a letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, dated July 3, 1776.

I’m sure when he wrote that letter he could not have anticipated the magnitude of present day fireworks. 


Firework Safety

According to the United States CPSC, ( Consumer Product Safety Commission), an average of “280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.”

More than 53% of those injuries are burns. To help promote firework safety the CPSC has outlined some tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

These are a few. To see the complete list, visit their Fireworks Information Center. 

Like most childhood memories, they are looked at through rose colored glasses, and I’m grateful for those July 4th celebrations! As a parent and an adult, I’m taking steps to make sure my kids have the same.

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