The numbers tell the tale. From Prevent Blindness America, here are the facts about fireworks:
In 2010, 8,600 people were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries.
There were three fireworks-related deaths. 6,300 of the injuries (73 percent) occurred during a one-month period around the Fourth of July holiday.
Sparklers (1,200), firecrackers (900), and bottle rockets (400) accounted for the most injuries last year.
The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (estimated 1,900 injuries), legs (1,400), eyes (1,300), and the head, face and ears (1,000).
Bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers and Roman candles account for most eye injuries.
Sparklers, often given to young children, burn at 2000 degrees or even hotter, hot enough to melt copper.
For children under the age of five, sparklers accounted for the largest number of estimated injuries in that age group, with 300 injuries (43% of the total).
The major causes of injuries are due to delayed or early fireworks explosions, errant flight paths of rockets, debris from aerial fireworks, and mishandling of sparklers.
* Don’t put firecrackers in a bottle, can, or container of any kind.
* Choose a site that is away from flammable material.
* Keep a bucket of water handy to put out grass fires and fireworks that don’t go off. Never try to relight them.
* Never touch a ‘dud’ firecracker or rocket. Douse with water.
* Any eye injury should be seen by an emergency room doctor. Never press, rub, or touch an injured eye.
Holiday shopping survival guide
Do you dread the thought of navigating crowded stores, busy parking lots, and long checkout lines? Here are a few tips to make your holiday shopping experience less of an ordeal.
Go at the right time
There’s no doubt that weekends are a prime time for shopping, especially Saturdays. If possible, head to stores on a weekday or first thing in the morning. Waiting until the last minute will also mean con¬tending with crowds. Keep in mind that many navigation apps allow you to see how busy a particular location is at a given time.
Know what you want
To limit the amount of time you spend in stores, make a list and browse local retailers’ websites before you visit in person. This will ensure you know exactly where to go to get the best deals. Of course, you can also stick to shopping online, so long as you leave enough time for your packages to arrive before the holidays.
If you’re not a fan of shopping in general, you’ll want to ensure the experience isn’t any more unbearable than it needs to be. Among other things, you should:
• Dress in comfortable layers, and wear appropriate walking shoes
• Leave your car at home, if possible, to avoid searching for a parking spot
• Refrain from shopping with people who are indecisive
• Buy heavy items last so you don’t have to lug them around
Finally, depending on what would cause you the least amount of stress, you can either plan several short trips or aim to get all your shopping done at once.
Lists are not just for Santa!
The holiday season is often accompanied by worries about not being ready in time. As the festive season is approaching fast, here is a list for those in charge of organizing Christmas. It will help you make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
1. Establish your budget. This is always a good starting point. It feels awful to regret all your spending once the holidays are past.
2. Create checklists. Plan your menus, gifts, indoor and outdoor decorations, and schedule your beauty appointments well in advance.
3. Set your tasks. Each of the previous lists brings its own share of things to do, so it’s important to list them clearly along with a time frame in which to do them.
4. Spread out the tasks. Note on a calendar or in your smartphone agenda all things to do each day, as this will give you a better overview. It will also be easier to add an item to the list or delete completed tasks (yay!), so that you don’t forget anything.
5. Delegate. Some tasks can even be assigned to the children. You’ll be surprised at their creativity!
6. Get organized in advance. Some things can be done well before Christmas. Think about preparing any make-ahead dishes that can be frozen until the party or Christmas dinner. Doing this will allow you to relax a bit during the party!
7. Buy your gifts before the last-minute rush. Shopping on December 23 is just an invitation to stress. So start shopping in late November or early December. If that is truly impossible, bear in mind that shopping malls are less crowded early in the week.
Taking the time to get organized will give you the inspiration to create some unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones this holiday season.
4 great reasons to give gift cards during the holidays
Do you find it stressful to pick out personalized gifts for everyone on your list? Are you unsure whether giving your loved ones gift cards is the right thing to do? If so, here are four reasons offering this type of present may be a good choice for you.
1. There are endless options. From ski lift tickets to spa packages and gourmet meals to clothing stores, it’s easy to find a gift card that suits the interests of the person you want to spoil.
2. You won’t disappoint. Rather than risking buying your loved ones a present, they don’t like, giving them a gift card allows them to choose exactly what they want. This is an especially wise option for gift exchanges.
3. You’ll save time. Gift cards are quick and easy to purchase, and buying them will save you the hassle of walking up and down crowded store aisles. Simply head straight to the checkout. You can even purchase certain gift cards online.
4. You decide the price. You’re in full control of how much money is loaded onto the gift card. That way, you can spend as much or as little as you want, without having to calculate taxes.
Do you think a gift card is too impersonal? Think again! Simply wrap this present in a pretty box and attach a handwritten note to up the wow factor.
How to find the perfect present
Do you strive to give the perfect gift? Whether it’s for someone you’ve known for years or only a few months, here are some tips to help you accomplish this holiday feat.
Think about the person’s interests
You can brainstorm on your own or ask a friend or family member to help you come up with ideas. Consider the person’s hobbies and interests. Are they tech-savvy? Do they enjoy being physically active? Do they like to cook? What are their passions? Even if the answers to these questions don’t give you a clear idea, they may still point you in the right direction.
Take your time to find the right item
Avoid making an impulse buy or waiting until the last minute. If you rush to find the perfect present, you risk panicking and purchasing something the person may not like. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to carefully think about what would make a great gift.
In addition, when you browse your local stores, make sure to ask sales associates for their insights and recommendations.
What to give a globetrotter for Christmas
Do you know someone who’s planning to travel? Whether it’s for a short stay in a single location or a long tour across multiple destinations, here are some gift ideas to ensure they have a fun-filled trip.
Give the traveler in your life a gift they’re sure to need while abroad. Consider purchasing an international plug adapter, a charging station with several USB ports, a multi-tool, or a waterproof bag for their laundry.
Help your world traveler zip through airport security with practical items. For example, a luggage scale is useful to have on hand to make sure suitcases aren’t overweight. In addition, vacuum-seal bags are perfect for compressing large items such as sweaters and jackets to make more room inside the luggage.
Spoil your loved ones with handy products they can take with them as they jet around the world. For example, you could look into getting them a portable charger, an e-reader, a camera, a collapsible water bottle, or a foldable backpack. In addition, high-quality earbuds or earphones are a great gift.
Visit the stores in your area to find these items or discover further gift ideas for the traveler on your shopping list.
Smart tips for well-written holiday cards
The time has come once again to send out holiday cards. If you’re not sure what to write to your friends and relatives, here’s some advice.
Give yourself plenty of time
Whether you want to send your cards by mail or electronically, avoid waiting till the last minute to get started. Not only do you risk forgetting someone, but a rushed card won’t have the same sentiment as a message you took the time to reflect on.
Craft a personalized message
The standard greetings that appear in most store-bought cards or online templates can be a good starting point. However, regard¬less of whether the cards you choose include text, be sure to add a personal touch so the message reflects your relationship with the recipient.
If you’re very close with the person, don’t hesitate to mention recent or upcoming events such as their plans to buy a house or a trip they just took. Has it been a while since you caught up? Consider extending an invitation for a phone call or coffee date after the holidays. The most important thing is to be sincere.
Be optimistic about the future
In addition to wishing the person a happy holiday, include a positive message about the new year. While you shouldn’t disregard any recent hardship the person may have experienced, the idea is to share some hope for the future.
Remember, you can be as creative as you want with your holiday cards. Just be sure to write from the heart.