Summer brings fun and fireworks. One of the big childhood memories many of us share is holding those bright sparklers in our hands and waving them around in grandmom’s back yard. They were so much fun — but we’ve learned it’s best to leave fireworks and sparklers to the pros.

The risks are real.

Safe Kids Worldwide reports that more than 3,000 children under the age of 15 go to the emergency room each year due to fireworks-related injuries. In a report by the Consumer Product Safety commission, children 10 to 14 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries, and older teens, 15 to 19 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate.

For July 4 fun, use glow sticks, confetti, or glow-in-the-dark silly string instead.

Reports indicate that more than half of the fireworks injuries to children under the age of 5 are caused by sparklers. This may come as a surprise to some of us because sparklers seemed so harmless. But did you know that sparklers burn at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees? That is hot enough to melt glass or some metals.

Use glow sticks, confetti, or glow-in-the-dark silly string instead.

Laws on personal use of fireworks and sparklers vary. Know the rules about personal fireworks in your state or county. Best yet, leave the fireworks to the pros, and attend a public fireworks display instead.

Despite laws against them, fireworks remain ubiquitous, especially around the Fourth of July, so remember:

  • Supervise children at all times around fireworks.
  • Stand a safe distance away from lit fireworks.
  • Fireworks should never be lit indoors or near dry grass.
  • Have a bucket of water or garden hose available in case of fire.
  • If someone is injured by fireworks, they immediately should go to a doctor or hospital.
  • If an eye injury occurs, don’t touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
  • Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Start new summer holiday traditions with your family — spread out your picnic blanket, break out colored glow sticks for the kids, lay back and enjoy the show together.