Please, I’m Begging You: Don’t Do Fireworks At Home This Year

Have you ever had one of those moments as a mom when you just knew something bad was about to happen?

One of those moments when time felt like it stood still and you felt like you could almost reach out and stop the disaster from unfolding right before your eyes, like right before your toddler slips on that patch of water you warned him about or just as you have that intuition to check on the baby or right as your preschooler is colliding with the door?

Last year, I had one of those moments and it happened on the 4th of July.

I was sitting outside at a party, perched on the grassy knoll of a hill as I watched my three older kids frolic with my husband and a gaggle of other kids. I held my almost two-year-old in my arms and my eyes made a connection from where the fireworks were being set up, to the giant fire pit in front of me, to the crowd of people filling the yard directly behind the pit. I realized it was a direct path and my stomach twisted.

“If something goes wrong, this will be very, very bad,” I thought. And almost immediately as I had that thought, the explosion happened.

I would find out later that a firework tipped over into the other fireworks waiting to be launched, which caused a sort of torpedo effect, with one going off after another, but what it looked like before my eyes, was just fireworks whizzing towards the fire pit and exploding in the crowd of children. I saw one explode into a giant fireball in front of a woman’s face and I lost my mind: I honest-to-goodness thought I had just witnessed that woman’s death and my only thought was to save my kids.

I took off running down the hill, screaming and crying, but someone in the crowd saw me and stopped me, a smart move, considering I was still holding my toddler and she could have been hit if I would have run into the fire. It was several chaotic moments before the smoke dissipated, the screams (mostly mine, oops) died down and we were able to count heads and children to find that luckily, they were all OK. My husband and some other adults had been able to scoop the littlest ones up and the older ones took off running.

But guys, those moments were some of scariest of my life. I can tell you what happened, I can rationally look back at it now, but what my brain thought I saw that night was simple: my brain thought it saw death and my kids near death. There was smoke and fire and chaos and screaming and in a moment like that, that kind of fear is very real.

My point is, I saw how very, very dangerous at-home fireworks could be and sadly, this wasn’t the first negative encounter I had seen. At at a family party on my mother’s side, we also had at-home fireworks go terribly wrong and several of my family members almost lost limbs, if not their lives. To this day, no one really knows how they escaped unscathed.

As I drove past the endless displays of fireworks out this year, I wanted to be that crazy mother who was out warning parents and kids and teens and youth: DON’T DO IT!

Because, really, are those fireworks really worth it? Especially if you have little kids in the midst, I’m begging you to reconsider. Go to a real fireworks show where the set-up is safe, skip the whole thing and go to bed, or bust out the classic sparklers, but please, don’t mix kids and fireworks.

The risk is just not worth it — trust me and don’t wait until you have to find out for yourself.