Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips – Straight from the Experts

It’s that time of year again: time to get together with friends, host backyard barbecues, cook up some hotdogs and hamburgers, sip a cool beverage and end the day gathered around watching fireworks. Sounds perfect, right? Unfortunately, according to the National Fire Protection Association in 2015 alone, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries and one-quarter of the injured (26%) were less than 15 years old.*

How and Why Do These Injuries Occur?

  • Fireworks type: Among the various types of fireworks, some of which are sold legally in some states, bottle rockets can fly into peoples’ faces and cause eye injuries; sparklers can ignite clothing; and firecrackers can injure the hands or face if they explode at close range.
  • Being too close: Injuries may result from being too close to fireworks when they explode; for example, when someone leans over to look more closely at a firework that has been ignited, or when a misguided bottle rocket hits a nearby person.
  • Lack of physical coordination: Younger children often lack the physical coordination to handle fireworks safely – even sparklers! Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. But facts are that sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals and enough to cause a serious burn
  • Curiosity: Children are often excited and curious around fireworks, which can increase their chances of being injured (for example, when they re-examine a firecracker dud that initially fails to ignite).
  • Experimentation: Homemade fireworks (for example, ones made of the powder from several firecrackers) can lead to dangerous and unpredictable explosions.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not here to talk doom and gloom when it comes to 4th of July fireworks. It really can be the perfect ending to an already perfect day…providing we’re careful and follow these key fireworks safety rules:

Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips:

  1. Use fireworks outdoors only. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks including sparklers. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
  3. Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  4. Be careful when lighting the fuse. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back up to a safe distance
  5. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  6. Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them. They can kill you!
  7. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  8. Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
  9. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
  10. Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy, fun and safe 4th of July


  • Fireworks Safety” – National Fire Protection Association
  • Fireworks Safety” – US Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Safety Tips” – The National Council on Fireworks Safety
  • *Data referenced updated 6/25/17

The Horse Boy – A Family’s Journey to Treat Autism

The Horse Boy is a documentary that follows a family as they travel to Mongolia to try shamanistic healing for their son. Although the child in the film has autism, parents Rupert Isaacson and Kristin Neff struggle with the same questions any special needs diagnosis would bring:

– Did I do something to cause this?

– Will my child ever be self-sufficient?

– What will happen to my child when I am gone?

The film forces the audience to look unflinchingly at the reality of life with an autistic child, showing long stretches of tantrums. Although the sequences may seem long to the viewer, it reminds us that these short scenes are nothing compared to the day to day reality faced by some special needs caregivers.

The parents are amazingly devoted to trying anything and everything to help heal not only their child but their overall situation. They put aside personal beliefs and prejudices as they place their faith and their hope into a different culture.

The family’s story raises fascinating questions. How far would you go, geographically, spiritually and emotionally, to help your special needs child? What specific parts of your child’s special needs really need to be treated? Do doctors really know everything about these conditions?

Buy the horse Boy on Amazon, or rent it instantly here

July 2nd & 23rd 2011: Two Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings

For those of you not familiar with”Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings“, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing.

To quote our Special-Needs Parenting Expert Rosie Reeves: “It can be challenging enough to bring a child to a movie theater – they are dark, the sound is very loud, there are tempting stairs and rails and they are expected to sit still and stay quiet. When a child has special needs all these elements and many others can prove too daunting to even attempt such an outing. And yet getting out, being with the community and sharing in an experience with an audience can be invaluable for just such children – and their caregivers, too”.

On July 2nd at 10am local time, “Cars 2” will be screened as part of the “sensory friendly screening program”. On July 23rd, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 will be screened. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fantastic program.

Coming August 6th: The Smurfs


Editor’s note: Cars 2 is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is rated PG-13 for Some intense sequences of intense action violence and frightening images. Please check the IMDB Parent’s Guide for a more detailed description to determine if this movie is right for you and your child.

How to Rush-Proof Your Family’s Morning Routine

What are mornings like at your house? If you’re like most moms, it’s probably the busiest part of your day. After all, you’ve got to get yourself and your kids out of bed, dressed, fed and out the door with all the necessary stuff in time for school, work and other activities. And this time of year, if your schedule is shifting weekly due to different summer camps or activities, it can make the morning routine even more of a challenge.

The beginning of the day tends to be chaotic and stressful for a bunch of reasons, says Dr. Mary Alvord, a psychologist in private practice in Rockville and Silver Spring, Md., and a mother of three. “Chances are you’ve got at least one or two people in the family, if not everyone, getting ready. There’s a lot that needs to get done in a relatively short period of time, and you’re on a deadline,” she says. “Plus, young children especially don’t do well when they’re being rushed.”

Organizing expert Stacey Crew, a mother of two, says that “how the morning goes really sets the tone for the whole day, so you really want to make things calm and run like clockwork.”

With some key planning and organizational strategies, it is possible to turn the morning mayhem into a peaceful and manageable routine. Here’s how Alvord, Crew and other busy moms make it happen:

1. Plan the week during the weekend

Crew recommends using Saturday and Sunday to get ready for the coming week. Plan and shop for meals, get the laundry done and decide what the kids will wear to school every day (if they’re not old enough to pick out their own outfits).

“Once Monday morning rolls around, you’ve got enough on your plate without having to worry about what you’re making for dinner or whether your kids have clean clothes for school,” says Crew.

2. Prep the night before

The more you can do before going to bed the night before, the better. Make and pack lunches, lay out clothes for you and the kids, set out the breakfast dishes, and make sure bags are packed and waiting beside the door. If getting dressed in the morning is always a battle between you and your (non-morning-person) child, you could even try having her wear her comfy school clothes to bed. “It’s no biggie for my 6-year-old, because she usually wears leggings and a jersey to school, and they’re like PJ’s anyway,” says Bay Brown, a mother of three in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Also, make sure that you and your kids turn in on time so you get enough sleep, suggests Alvord. “It’s easier and less stressful to get everything done in the morning when you’re well-rested,” she says.

3. Get yourself ready first

Plan to get up at least a half hour earlier than your children so you can be showered and dressed before they get up. Slipping away for “me time” after the kids are awake is virtually impossible in most households, unless you stick your kids in front of a TV, which then makes getting them out of the house even harder. Another option: Shower the night before to save time in the morning.

4. Set up a family communication center

Hunting around for a school permission slip five minutes before you’re supposed to leave is a surefire way to ramp up the morning stress level. That’s why Crew, author of The Organized Mom, recommends carving out a space (not the cluttered kitchen counter) where you can keep the family calendar, school forms and other papers that need to be acted on in the near future. And plan to get those permission slips signed and back in the schoolbags the night before.

5. Involve kids in the morning routine

“Young children thrive on structure and knowing what the next step is,” says Alvord. So have them help you create a schedule for the mornings, like this:

6:15 a.m.: Wake up

6:30 a.m.: Get dressed

6:45 a.m.: Eat breakfast

7:15 a.m.: Brush teeth

7:30 a.m.: Put on shoes and coat

If your child is a big dawdler, try using timers for tasks like getting dressed and brushing teeth.

6. Make morning tasks fun

Keeping things light and playful is often the key to getting results from young kids. If your child is competitive, turn getting dressed into a game of who can do it the fastest. Come up with a silly song set to a familiar tune like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (e.g., “Put, Put, Put on Your Shoes”) to encourage your child to move from one task to another.

7. Bend the rules for kids who are not feeling well

A child who’s not feeling great (but not necessarily sick enough to stay home) often has an especially hard time getting out the door in the morning, so it’s best to make the routine as easy as possible. Skip the usual morning chores and tasks, and let your child rest on the couch until it’s time to go.

8. Schedule time for breakfast and play

“Breakfast doesn’t have to be large or take a long time, but kids should sit down while they eat,” says Alvord. “Eating while seated at a table and allowing time to eat at a leisurely pace promotes good eating habits.” (If your child has a cold, don’t forget to serve extra fluids.)

Finally, try to work in 15 minutes of quiet playtime right before your child needs to leave the house. It can serve as a reward for being ready on time. Best of all, it helps keep the morning routine calm and peaceful. “If I’m rushing my kids at the last minute, they’re much slower and resistant,” says Kim Walker, a mother of two in San Francisco.

As a Parent You’ve Always Been a Little Overprotective…

Two seconds. It only takes that long to double your chance of being in a car crash.

Stay focused on safety. Don’t text and drive.”

Our thanks to BMW USA for this

New FDA Standards for Sunscreen Announced

This week the Food and Drug Administration announced new, long-deliberated safety standards for sunscreen labels. The new requirements, which will take effect next summer, will help parents better assess the sun protection benefits of a given product, including protection against both types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB.

New Sun Protection Specifics:

  • Only products with a minimum sunburn protection factor (SPF) of 15 AND equal protection from both UVA and UVB rays will earn the new “broad spectrum” protection claim
  • Products with a lower SPF or which do not equally protect from both types of harmful radiation will have to warn that they do not protect against skin cancer or early skin aging (UVA causes wrinkles, while UVB is the cause of sunburns – but both cause cancer)
  • New labels will also eliminate exaggerated claims such as “sweat-proof” and “waterproof”. Going forward manufacturers will only be able to state the amount of time that testing showed the products to be “water-resistant” – either 40 or 80 minutes.
  • The FDA is continuing to review a proposal to cap SPF at 50 since there appears to be no sun-protection value beyond that level
Dermatologists hailed the changes. Nevertheless, they also stress that consumers need to adequately use sunscreens to benefit from the new regulations. A broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50 will still need to be reapplied every 40 to 80 minutes to be effective.
Sources (click for more details):