Celebrating our Independence with a Boom has been a tradition for many families for years over the July 4th Holiday season. Unfortunately every year thousands of children and adults are needlessly injured by not following basic fireworks safety tips. With the proper respect fireworks deserve, everyone can safely enjoy the show.
Children are most frequently injured by fireworks. Most are under the age of 15. You may think firecrackers or other types of explosive or rocket variety fireworks are most responsible for their injuries. In fact, the biggest risk of injury comes from sparklers. Sparklers account for roughly 16% of all firework related injuries. If you consider children alone, sparklers account for about 1/3 of all injuries and over half of the injuries to children under 5.
In order to prevent children from being injured by sparklers, it is important to consider following some very simple safety tips.
- Never let children handle, light or play with sparklers without adult supervision.
- Don’t let your child handle or light more than one sparkler at a time.
- Don’t pass of a lit sparkler to someone else, have them hold the unlit sparkler while you light it.
- Don’t hold your child in your arms while you or the child is using sparklers.
- Keep your distance: its recommended children stay at least 6 feet apart from one another while handling sparklers.
- Instruct your child to hold the sparkler away from their body keeping them at arm’s length.
- Avoid waving the sparklers wildly through the air as children frequently lose hold of the sparkler causing injury to themselves or others around them.
- Wear proper clothing and footwear. Many injuries occur when an burnt out sparkler is dropped on the ground causing foot burns or puncture wounds from stepping on them.
- Once the sparkler flame goes out, the metal rod should be dropped directly into a bucket of water. The extinguished sparkler and metal rod remain hot for a long time.
- Keep your fireworks out of the reach of children. Lock them up. Kids are creative and can easily find a source of fire to ignite fireworks, i.e. a lit candle.
Above all, use common sense, pay attention to children, and if alcohol is involved in an adult party with children, designate someone to remain sober and responsible while any and all fireworks are in use. Hopefully these simple tips can help you and your family avoid an unwanted trip to the emergency department, or worse yet, a permanent and disfiguring injury.
The Hand Surgeons at TOCA, as well as the rest of the Physicians and Staff with you and your family health and happiness as we celebrate with pride, our Independence Day.