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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: June 26, 2012

Does your child cringe when fireworks go off? If you're heading out to any of the July Fourth fireworks displays across the Triangle, don't forget to protect your little one's ears.

Noise from exploding fireworks can top 155 decibels, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. If you're sitting very close to the blasts, you could experience immediate, sudden and permanent hearing loss.

I remember when one of my sons was a tot and we headed out to watch the fireworks, he enjoyed the lights but was scared of the loud booms that came with them, although we were sitting outside the stadium where the displays were happening. I wish I'd known about the earmuffs tip from The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which recommends these measures for protecting your hearing during fireworks displays:

  • Sit at least 500 feet from where the fireworks are launched. Fireworks noise for spectators 800 feet away ranges from 88 to 126 dB. But from 10 feet away, it's 155 dB—louder than a military jet takeoff!
  • If you notice ringing or buzzing in your ears, move farther away.
  • Bring earplugs for every family member. You can find them at many drug stores or sporting goods stores for just for a few dollars or less. (For children under ages 7 or 8, these earplugs may be too big, so consider using child-size earmuffs. Ear protection must fit properly in order to provide protection.)

If you're planning to create your own firework display, play it safe by following these common sense safety tips from the The National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Do not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

Using sparklers? Note these special safety tips:

  • Always remain standing while using sparklers.
  • Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
  • Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.
  • Never throw sparklers.
  • Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.
  • Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.



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