4 for the Fourth
Tips for a safe Independence Day
Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, usually brings thoughts of parades, back yard barbecues and, of course, fireworks. Unfortunately, those fireworks often mean injuries.
The Emergency Department at Cook Children’s sees eye and face injuries from projectiles (fireworks that launch or that have parts that explode off), hand and finger injuries from holding items while they explode and burns of every type, especially when children are running around barefoot.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s annual death and injury report on fireworks incidents indicates that nearly half of these injuries occurred to children younger than 15 years of age. The culprits? Firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers – yes, sparklers.
Sparklers are considered by many to be the “safe” firework. But even an innocent looking sparkler can get as hot as the flame on some blow torches and can easily ignite clothing?
“Every firework has its dangers and there simply isn’t one that I would consider completely safe,” said Justin Smith, M.D., a pediatrician in Lewisville. “Parents would be safest to take their children to an event and watch fireworks. You will have a good time and can view from a distance.”
Remind your friends and neighbors, before they touch a flame to any fireworks, to make sure it’s legal to do so where they live.
Prevent the Tragedies
If fireworks can be used legally where you live and you do want to use them, here are a few guidelines CPSC recommends they follow:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that fizzle and don’t go off.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a fire.
More guidelines are at CPSC’s Fireworks Information Center.
How Dangerous Is a Sparkler?
Nothing says Fourth of July like fireworks. The beautiful bursts of color in the night sky brings a special thrill, but the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. 200 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. Even seemingly innocent sparklers, can heat up to 1,200 degrees, causing severe burns. Keep this July 4th safe, by checking out the safety facts on fireworks and sparklers: