2010-07-01 / Local & State

Celebrate Nation’s Birthday Safely

On a day that is filled with festive traditions like parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball, outdoor parties and events honoring the nation, there is one tradition that is most identifiable: fireworks. Since 1777, fireworks have been associated with the 4th of July. Firework shows are held in every state and many families and groups buy fireworks privately for their own use.

Each year, approximately 5,000 Americans are sent to the emergency room for firework-related injuries. Thousands of those injuries were to eyes, including contusions, lacerations, debris in the eyes and burns. That is why the South Central Blind Association is encouraging you to celebrate the holiday safely this year, by starting new traditions. Here are some fun suggestions:

Purchase nontoxic glosticks, glo-ropes and glojewelry that can safely light the night for kids;

Let kids cook in the kitchen by making fun desserts using blueberries, strawberries and whipping cream for star-spangled treats;

Have children design and decorate their own T-shirts and hats using glow-in-thedark paints. Add puffy paints and glitter to make them sparkle and;

Use hypoallergenic face paint or makeup to make designs on your child’s face. Adults should apply the face paint and remove it with cold cream or eye makeup remover instead of soap. Follow product guidelines about applying product directly around the eyes.

If your family is going to celebrate using fireworks this 4th of July the South Central Blind Association is urging you to protect your family and children from related injuries. Here are a couple helpful tips:

Always use legal fireworks outside;

Have a bucket of water or hose handy at all times;

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

Any person lighting a firework should wear protective safety glasses, while spectators keep a safe distance from the firework.

Do not allow any children under the age of 12 to handle sparklers.

The best way to protect your family though is not to use any fireworks at home — period. Attend public fireworks displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals.

For more information, visit www.pablind.org or call 814.623.8214.

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