Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hoping your Fourth of July is a Blast & doesn't end up in a Bang!

You can tell the Fourth of July holiday is approaching as the stands selling fireworks have popped up at nearly every intersection and the evenings start to become filled with the sounds of booms, bangs and hisses.  Enjoy the season, but please be considerate of others and careful when enjoying fireworks.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 200 people PER DAY in the United States end up in an emergency room for treatment for a fireworks related injuries in the month around the Fourth of July.  In fact 60% of all fireworks injuries for the whole year occur in a 30 day span surrounding July 4th!

As parents we can allow our children to enjoy fireworks but we need to be vigilant about supervising and maintaining safety around them.  Too many parents are being too lax when it comes to fireworks.  The numbers when it comes to childhood injuries involving fireworks are troubling.  According to the CPSC, 29% of fireworks injuries reported involve children 0 – 14.  Another 15% of injuries involve the ages of 15-19.  So almost half of ALL injures involving fireworks impact children.

Of the injuries suffered I found it interesting that only 1% involved arms thought that number would have been higher – the majority of injuries are to hands and fingers 41% with injuries to the head being the second most common with 19%.  More than HALF of ALL injuries were from BURNS so remember that sparklers can be dangerous if not handled responsibly too.  The most common firework injuries are from firecrackers accounting for 23% of injuries with sparklers and bottle rockets tied for second place each with 12%.

The CPSC has put together a nice illustration with this information:  http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/06/cpsc-science-fireworks-injuries-2013-update/

I remember running around the front yard with sparklers as a kid and blowing up firecrackers with my dad as a kid.  We have some fun with our kids enjoying fireworks now too.  The numbers involving injuries though are troubling and very preventable.  I’m pointing out this information today so we can all come together to try and make the Fourth of July safer for children.  Every kid should associate the Fourth of July with a fun experience enjoying fireworks rather than a terrible trip to the hospital or even worse a long-term injury or scar that they will associate with the holiday for the rest of their lives.

With that in mind here are some useful safety tips from the CPSC:

  •          Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  •          Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  •          Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  •          Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  •          Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  •          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.
  •        Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  •          Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  •          After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  •          Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

From my family to yours we are wishing everyone an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July.  Happy Birthday America! 

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