Celebrating Independence Day is a great American tradition. From barbecues and pool parties to stunning fireworks displays, July 4th is a day for family fun. For many families, fun after dark includes setting off their own fireworks. However, the excitement of lighting home fireworks comes with a risk of injury or even death.
The U.S. Consumer Public Safety Commission (CPSC) reports in 2014, an average of 230 people went to the emergency room daily with fireworks-related injuries around the July 4th holiday. In 2014 children under the age of 19 accounted for 47% of those injured by fireworks.
Tami McMichael, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, reminds us that supervision is crucial when using fireworks. “Children and fireworks are both unpredictable. Even the smallest fireworks can cause disfiguring burns and severe eye injuries. A moment can change you and your child’s life forever.”
Burns are the most prevalent type of fireworks injuries, and even sparklers can injure a child. In fact, according to the CPSC, in 2014 19% of all fireworks injuries were caused by sparklers. These widely used fireworks burn at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
We recommend attending professional fireworks displays, but if fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off, please follow these important safety tips to reduce the risk of injury to you and your child.
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- When using fireworks, always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- After fireworks stop burning, douse with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent trash fires.
We hope you will keep these tips in mind and carefully supervise children while enjoying your celebration. We wish everyone a safe and Happy Fourth of July!