Independence Day usually brings thoughts of parades, back yard barbecues and, of course, fireworks. Unfortunately, those fireworks often mean injuries.
“In the Emergency Department at Cook Children’s, we see 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,” said Dana Toudouze, director of Emergency Services. “Parents would be safest to take their children to an event and watch fireworks.”
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, did you know that an innocent looking sparkler can get as hot as the flame on some blow torches and can easily ignite clothing?
Prevent the Tragedies
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. If fireworks can be used legally where they live, 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.