Summertime is synonymous with swimming, baseball, parades, and, of course, fireworks to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
As we near July Fourth, many communities are planning big fireworks displays, while families are hoping their backyard celebrations go off with a big bang.
But with all eyes on the sky, Akron Children’s Director of the Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute Dr. Anjay Khandelwal warns parents about the potential burns and other injuries from fireworks.
Every year, thousands of children wind up in emergency rooms with injuries from either watching or using fireworks, including bottle rockets, sparklers and firecrackers.
“Many families believe sparklers are harmless and safe for young children to use,” said Dr. Khandelwal. “However, they are the most common cause of injury from fireworks in children. What families may not realize is a sparkler can reach temperatures above 1,500 degrees, which can cause serious burns or ignite clothing.”
The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home. But if you must, Dr. Khandelwal offers 10 tips to help keep your family safe from injury this holiday. Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you’ll enjoy them much more knowing your family is safe.
- Kids should never play with fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets and sparklers are just too dangerous. If you do give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from their face, clothing and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt gold.
- Buy only legal fireworks with instructions for proper use. Legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions, whereas illegal ones are unlabeled. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M100, blockbuster or quarterpounder.
- Use ready-made fireworks rather than making your own, even from a kit.
- Always use fireworks outside. Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud. For extra precaution, have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
- Steer clear of others setting off fireworks. They can backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction.
- Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even as a joke.
- Don’t hold fireworks in your hand while lighting. Wear eye protection, and don’t carry fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
- Point fireworks away from homes, brush, leaves and other flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more than 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
- Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some of the fireworks may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
Find out additional ways to keep your children safe from serious injury this summer with Akron Children’s Injury Prevention program.