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Columbus, Ohio

Rethinking Traditions


Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.


Rethinking Traditions

End Injury


On most days, we are constantly reminding children to be careful around hot items that could burn them: “Stay away from the stove. Don’t touch lighters. Don’t play with matches. Don’t get too close to the fire.” Yet, on July 4th, many of us will break from the message of “Don’t touch hot things” by handing kids lit sparklers. The adults in my family broke this rule by allowing us kids to jump on the trampoline with handfuls of sparklers. It’s amazing none of us ended up in the emergency department.

So why do we ignore what we say the rest of year for this one celebration? Sparklers, bottle rockets, and other types of small fireworks still involve fire, after all. In fact, sparklers burn hot enough—more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit—to melt gold and other metals. Our skin doesn’t stand a chance at that temperature.

Now we’re older (and wiser), and many of us with kids of our own. We have changed the way we celebrate. We stick to the rules - even on holidays. Now instead of shooting off fireworks in our backyard, we attend the local, professionally-run fireworks display. We stay away from hot things by starting new traditions, such as buying glow sticks that the kids love just as much as sparklers. (For other suggestions on how to keep the fun without the danger, check out this site:

The traditions of our childhood may be fond memories, but those traditions often went against the very rules our parents worked so hard to enforce every other day of the year. Some people say that safety ruins the fun one activity at a time, but nothing ruins the fun faster than an injury.  The last place you want to be on July 4th is the emergency department, so stay safe, create new traditions, and leave the fireworks to the professionals.

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