For many of us, the holiday means fun times with family and friends, grilling out and fireworks, of course. But because of that last one, Independence Day is also considered one of the most dangerous holidays of the year.
“Fireworks are a big part of the July Fourth holiday, but they can also lead to devastating injuries, especially for our little ones,” said Jill Lucas-Drakeford, a Carilion Clinic community health educator and coordinator of Safe Kids Southwest Virginia. “Each year more than 3,000 children under the age of 15 are sent to the emergency room in the U.S. because of fireworks."
"And sparklers, which most of us think are harmless for kids, account for one-third of the injuries to children under five," she adds.
Sparklers can heat up to 1,200 degrees, which is hot enough to melt glass and much too hot for short, little arms to hold. Instead, Lucas-Drakeford suggested using glow sticks.
“They allow young children to still feel part of any celebration without the chance of getting burned,” she says. “My top tip when it comes to fireworks safety is to leave it to the professionals and attend a public fireworks display.”
However, if you do plan to use fireworks at home, closely supervise children around them at all times, and follow these other tips from Safe Kids Worldwide:
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks
- Never light fireworks indoors
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from dry grass, brush, leaves and flammable substances
- Have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby (see the P.A.S.S. fire extinguisher instructions below)
Be sure that everyone stands several feet away from lit fireworks. If one does not go off, douse it with water and dispose of it. Do not stand over it to investigate it.
If an injury does occur, seek medical attention immediately. Do not touch or rub your eye if an eye injury occurs, as this may cause even more damage.
We hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday, and we hope that we DON'T see you in any of our emergency rooms. Happy Fourth!