Keep the Sparkle in Your Celebrations – Firework safety

Firework safety - tips from our Safe Kids CoordinatorIt’s time to hoist the flag and celebrate our independence from the British Empire. And what would Independence Day be without fireworks? But before you break out the sparklers and the Roman candles here are some important considerations to make sure you keep it safe for everyone in your family.

Fireworks are spectacular, but also very dangerous.

Last year 12,900 firework-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms across our nation. The vast majority of those injuries, some 8,700, occurred around July 4th, according to a report from Consumer Products Safety Commission and National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Are fireworks legal in Tucson?

There was a time when you had to travel to legally purchase fireworks, but in 2014 Senate Bill 1158 required Pima and Maricopa cities and towns to allow the sale and use of ground fireworks around July 4th and New Year’s Day. So yes, fireworks can be legally bought and used in Tucson, but with significant limitations. Check this informational sheet to make sure you know which fireworks are legal here in Tucson. Did you know that while you might be able to buy bottle rockets, Roman candles and the like, anything that shoots into the air and detonates is not legal in Arizona? Check out the sheet linked above from the city of Tucson to find out what you can and can’t use within the city limits.

Firework Safety Tips

We asked Jessica Mitchell, coordinator for Safe Kids Pima County, for her firework safety tips this Independence Day.

“We know fireworks are fun and young kids look adorable holding those sparklers. Unfortunately, fireworks can cause serious injuries to children, including devastating burns and other injuries. The best way to keep your children safe is to not use any fireworks at home. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals. If you plan to use fireworks, make sure to follow the tips below to keep your kids as safe as possible.”

  1. Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

  1. Be Extra Careful With Sparklers

Yes they’re legal, but little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,800 degrees! Instead, let your young children use glow sticks. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.

(The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s stats from Fourth of July festivities in 2014 indicated sparklers were involved in a majority of fireworks-related injuries sustained by children under 5 years of age.)

  1. Take Necessary Precautions

  • Always have a bucket of water, hose and/or fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks and protect your eyes with safety googles.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances (at this time of year and considering how dry it is, this should dissuade most of us.)
  1. Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury

  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

For more information on fire safety and more visit Safe Kids WorldWide. 

 

Eat Well this July 4th – Grilled Peaches

It’s one of our favorite seasons…peach season! Walk into any grocery store right now and you stand a good chance of being overwhelmed with that juicy sweet fragrance enticing you to buy, buy, buy!

Peaches are, of course, perfect to eat fresh while leaning over the sink or with a bib, but this Fourth of July we’re adding them to the grill for the perfect dessert for our celebrations. Those fuzzy fruits are a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.

If you haven’t ventured into the grilled fruit territory, grilled peaches are a delectable introduction.

Even without adding herbs and spices, grilling turns fruit and vegetables into amazing little bites. Grilled fruit can be added to salads, served as a garnish for meat, and it makes a luscious dessert, especially when served over a modest serving of ice cream.

grilled peaches

Grilled Peaches

One peach per person (freestone)

Olive oil or grapeseed oil

Balsamic Glaze

Instructions

  1. Slice peaches in half. Once halved, pit the peach. Generally the peaches we find in the store are freestone peaches which allow the stone to be pitted easily.
  2. Lightly brush the cut surface of the peaches with oil. Just enough to prevent it sticking to the grill.
  3. Turn grill to medium heat.
  4. Grill peaches cut side down for 3-5 minutes, then flip and grill for an additional 4-5 minutes more. Your peaches should be soft to the touch.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic glaze or some vanilla ice cream.

If you are new to grilling fruits, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Heat your grill to medium or medium-high. If the heat is too high, the food can burn on the outside while remaining raw inside. The delicate skins of most fruit are especially susceptible to damage from very high heat.
  2. Unless you plan to grill entire apples, carrots, peppers or other large vegetables, use a grill basket to keep items from falling through the grate.
  3. Brush or toss vegetables with olive oil to add flavor and keep them from sticking. With fruit you might want to use a neutral-flavored oil, such as safflower or grapeseed.
  4. Add more flavor with herbs, spices, lemon (juice or peel) or a marinade. Black pepper or ginger adds a little kick to the fuzzy delight of peaches you might want to try.
  5. Keep an eye on that grill! Some items cook in as little as four minutes, so you don’t want to walk away and let them turn into charred nuggets.
  6. To test for doneness, stab them with a skewer or fork. They’re done when you feel the texture you like.

Hope you have a pleasant grilling adventure.

Laurie Ledford

Laurie Ledford RDLaurie Ledford is our very own Georgia peach, a registered dietitian from Atlanta, Georgia, the land of grits, collard greens and super-sweet iced tea. She now works as a registered dietitian  in the Tucson Medical Center Wellness Department. She enjoys helping people improve their health through sustainable dietary changes while still relishing occasional indulgences. In her off hours, Laurie engages in foodie pursuits such as sampling unusual flavor combinations (olive oil and basil ice cream was a good one) as well as hiking and cycling.

 


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