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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Parents looking for a safe July 4th celebration for their children have options other than fireworks, a University of Tennessee-Knoxville professor said Monday.

“Many parents are looking for alternatives to fireworks,” said Dr. Jan Allen, associate professor of child and family studies.

Last year, more than 6,000 children under age 14 were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, she said.

“For less than $2, parents can purchase a child-proof flashlight with permanently encased batteries, and children can create their own light show,” Allen said. “Older children enjoy ‘glow’ sticks, available at camping and sporting goods stores.”

Young children, who are often frightened by the noise of fireworks, enjoy playing with flashlights, she said.

Allen also suggested that children help plan the family’s Independence Day celebration.

“Explain to your age 6 and older child the meaning of Independence Day, then ask, ‘What do you think would be a good way to celebrate this historic day?”‘ she said.

“Fun and meaningful family traditions may begin this way. These alternatives are certainly safer and less expensive than shooting fireworks.”

Parents may contact Tammy Hillard at the Child Care Information and Referral Office at 974-8911 for information packets about summer activities for children. The office provides child care referrals and information about children’s development and behavior to parents in 14 East Tennessee counties. Services are free.

Contact: Jan Allen (423-974-6273)