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How to keep your family safe this Fourth of July

July 03, 2015

Independence Day is almost here and it is time to celebrate! Whether you’re planning to enjoy our nation’s birthday at the beach, have a poolside barbeque with friends or a picnic with loved ones, it is sure to be the pinnacle of your summer festivities. And of course, no celebration is complete without fireworks! But remember, there are some important things to keep in mind to ensure everyone’s health and safety this holiday weekend.

Fireworks are a traditional and awe-inspiring element of the Fourth of July holiday, but fireworks also pose a significant risk of injury to both adults and children.

Did you know:

  • Last year, approximately 10,000 people were treated in the emergency room for fireworks-related injuries. About 7,000 of those injuries occurred near the 4th of July holiday.
  • Nearly half of all fireworks-related injuries occur in young people under the age of 20.
  • Children ages 5 to 9 years old had the highest rate of injury from fireworks.
Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2014

Recognize the risk

Fireworks can cause severe burns and eye injuries. Parts of the body most likely to be burned are hands and fingers followed the by head, face and ears. Injuries to the eyes are likely to be caused by lacerations and foreign bodies. Even sparklers, which many parents may regard as safe for their little ones can get as hot as 2,000°F and can cause serious burn injuries.


Ways to stay safe

In order to keep your joyful celebration from turning into an unwanted trip to the emergency room, make fireworks safety a priority. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that the safest way to enjoy fireworks is by attending community displays of fireworks that are run by professionals instead of using fireworks at home.

If you still choose to use fireworks at home, follow these safety guidelines from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks of any type.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper (this is often a sign that fireworks are meant for professional use).
  • Children should have adult supervision at all times.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting it. Once lit, back up immediately to a safe distance.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that did not fully ignite.
  • Light fireworks one at a time then back up quickly.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at or near another person.
  • Keep a water source handy in case of a fire.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • Once fireworks are extinguished, douse the device well with water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Have a happy and healthy holiday weekend!