(6/28/12) - The Fourth of July is a time for celebration across the country. Whether at a professional show or in the backyard, fireworks can be fun to watch – but they can also be very dangerous.
The most recent available data shows that in 2010, an estimated 3,400 children ages 15 and under had injuries involving fireworks. Children and teenagers are the most likely people to be injured as a result of consumer fireworks.
According to Ashley Costas, Injury Prevention Specialist for Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal, "children under 15 years old account for 39 percent of the estimated fireworks injuries."
"Never let children play with fireworks," said Costas. "They are intended for use by adults, in open spaces, and children should watch from a safe distance. Children also require plenty of adult supervision to make sure they do not get too close."
As with any activity involving hazardous equipment, keep all children under active supervision at all times and give them your undivided attention. "The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them," said Costas.
Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal led by McLeod Health recommends these precautions for adults using fireworks:
• Light fireworks only on smooth, flat surfaces, and aim them away from spectators, buildings, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
• Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction.
• Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or hold them close to your face.
• Visit www.recalls.gov to make sure the devices you are using are not subject to any safety recalls.
• Do not modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.
• Keep a phone handy, and know first aid procedures for burns. Also, keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it.
Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. "Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency. Also teach them what to do if their clothing catches on fire - 'stop, drop and roll,'" added Costas.
Fireworks should be handled and used in strict accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and all warning labels.
For more information about fireworks safety and burn prevention visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal, led by McLeod Health, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading cause of death in children 14 and under. Safe Kids Pee Dee/ Coastal is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is funded in part by the McLeod Health Foundation.
For more information about child safety, call Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal at (843) 777-5021 to speak to an Injury Prevention Specialist or visit www.McLeodSafeKids.org.