Have a safe July 4th

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Our country's primary summer holiday evokes many positive images and feelings - family picnics, parades, firework displays and patriotic observances.

Unfortunately, the holiday is also associated with an increase in emergency visits. Accidents associated with fireworks can cause permanent injuries and even death. Many of these accidents involve children.

Explosive fireworks are illegal in Iowa except for licensed individuals putting on public displays. However, many people from the area get fireworks in South Dakota, mostly to be brought home for use illegally.

We do not advocate violating the law but must acknowledge that many otherwise law-abiding citizens regard the use of fireworks as a tradition creating fun that outweighs the danger. For these people, we ask that they at least refrain from providing these fireworks to preteens. A responsible and sober adult should light the fireworks.

And although sparklers are legal in Iowa, they can cause serious burns. Preschool children should not be given sparklers and older children should be warned about the danger of sparklers.

A bit of caution can prevent a fun time from turning into a tragedy.