Kids and fireworks have long been a dangerous combination, but now parents have even more reason to be concerned. Studies show a dramatic increase in the number of children seriously injured by these holiday pyrotechnics.
Since 2006, the number of children injured by fireworks, then treated in the emergency room and admitted to the hospital has increased a whopping 50 percent from previous years. Last year, children 14 and younger suffered 36 percent of the injuries from fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Not only are more children getting hurt, but they are also receiving serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries.
This dramatic rise in fireworks-related injuries in children correlates with the easing of many state laws governing recreational use of fireworks within the last decade. As the laws have been relaxed, more children have been injured.
Don’t let your child be one of them this Fourth of July. Here are some things you need to know to keep your family safe:
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 regard as safe for their little ones, can get as hot as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause serious burn injuries.
Ways to Stay Safe
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 to attend community displays 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 kind.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper (this is often a sign that fireworks are meant for professional use).
- Ensure children 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!
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