Next month, Americans across the country will once again participate in the tradition of celebrating Independence Day with fireworks. However, each year roughly 10,000 people, mostly children and teens, are injured from consumer fireworks. These accidents vary from minor to serious burns and injuries! On top of that, children 5 to 14 years of age are among the highest at risk.
If you plan to participate in the tradition of lighting fireworks on Independence Day, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind for the protection of you and your children:
- Always have adult supervision when lighting fireworks and plan a “safe zone” for your fireworks display. Some cities even offer designated “safe zones” for you to shoot off your Never light fireworks indoors, near houses or dry grassy fields. Always have access to buckets of water for dousing your fireworks prior to disposal.
- Assign an adult “shooter” to light the fireworks. Observers (children) should be positioned far away from the designated “safe zone”. Anyone near the fireworks should avoid wearing loose fitting clothes and wear eye protection, long sleeves and gloves.
- Never let children pickup or play with leftover fireworks as they could still be active. Do not lean over the fireworks when lighting them. Not all fireworks have the same fuse length and could go off prematurely. Once a fuse is lit, back up immediately and maintain a safe distance. If the firework does not immediately go off, do not attempt to retrieve it or re-ignite it. This should be considered a dud! Wait 20 minutes, then douse the “dud” with water, prior to disposing of it.
- The “shooter” should never hold a firework to ignite itor point them in the direction of observers, animals, or other “shooters”. When lighting fireworks do not place them in any container that is metal or glass, as this could result in injury to the shooter and/or observers.
- BEWARE of sparklers!!! Some consider these the safest of all fireworks and are confident in giving them to small children. However, Sparkler burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt glass and even some metals. These can cause third degree burns and serious injury to anyone.
- Never allow children, teenagers, or adults to place fireworks in their pockets or take them inside their homes. Even inactive fireworks can be dangerous.
In the event of a firework burn, immediately apply moist cool dressing (no ice) and/or antibiotic ointment. Wrap the burn loosely and seek immediate professional care at an urgent care or emergency room.
Every city, county, and state have laws to ensure the safe use of consumer fireworks. Become familiar with your local and state laws for legal and safe Fourth of July fireworks in your community.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks would be to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals in your area. Let’s all enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July this year!!
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care opened in 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. With multiple locations in San Antonio and Dallas, they are open seven days a week with extended evening hours and see walk-in patients or through an online check-in system. They accept most commercial insurance and Medicaid plans. More information about Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care can be found at www.littlespurspedi.com.