Parents can keep kids safe this Fourth of July

Parents can keep kids safe this Fourth of July In an effort to prevent Fourth of July firework-related injuries in South Dakota, the Department of Public Safety wants parents to learn and practice steps to protect their children.

"We can all play a part in protecting children from firework-related injuries," said state Fire Marshal Al Christie. "Parents should always supervise their children, and only adults should light fireworks."

Nationally, 45 percent of all firework-related injuries happen to children younger than 14. Unsafe use is the leading cause of firework injury. Unsafe use includes: holding, throwing or tampering with fireworks, leaning over fireworks or igniting them on uneven surfaces.

South Dakota's Fire Marshal urges parents to follow these precautions:

Before you light fireworks

"Be Prepared!" Purchase only legal fireworks, available at approved stands. Keep a bucket of water nearby in which to place all used fireworks. Have a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby to put out stray sparks. Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves or any other flammable objects. Know the emergency number to call for your area, your address/location, and basic first aid. Teach your children to "stop, drop, and roll" if their clothes catch on fire.

As you light fireworks

"Be Safe!" Set family boundaries. Have a designated adult light all fireworks. Do not allow young children to light fireworks. Light one at a time, move away quickly, and keep at a safe distance until the display is finished. Only use fireworks outdoors, away from anything that can burn. To prevent injuries, never throw fireworks and never hold fireworks in your hand.

After you light fireworks

"Be Responsible!" Clean up all debris when finished. If a fireworks does not light or fire, an adult should wait at least 15 minutes, approach it carefully, and place it in a bucket of water. Be sure all unused fireworks, matches and lighters are out of the sight and reach of children.

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