Fireworks have become synonymous with celebrating America's freedom and independence, but playing around with them can rob you of yours.
“Every Fourth of July thousands of children and adults are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries, mostly burns to the hands, head and face. Unless you are a pyrotechnic professional, you should not play around with these dangerous devices,” warns Rene Hopkins, a nurse educator and Coordinator of Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children's Hospital of Georgia.
Safe Kids and CHOG recommend the following tips to help keep you and your family safe around fireworks:
- Leave Fireworks to the Professionals
- The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
- If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
- Be Extra Careful With Sparklers. Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Give young children glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun, but they don't burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
“Sparklers cause the greatest number of injuries, with children ages 5 to 14 being injured by sparklers more than any other type of fireworks,” says Hopkins.
Take Necessary Precautions:
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
- Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury
- Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
- If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
“Fireworks are explosives, not playthings,” Hopkins cautions. “They can cause severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can last a lifetime. So, be careful.”
Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children's Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids USA network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, classes and events, call 706-721-7606, or visit grhealth.org/safekids.
Georgia Regents University is one of four public comprehensive research universities in the state with nearly 10,000 students enrolled in its nine colleges and schools, which include the Medical College of Georgia – the nation's 13th-oldest medical school – the nationally-ranked Hull College of Business and Georgia's only College of Dental Medicine. The clinical enterprise associated with the university includes the 478-bed Georgia Regents Medical Center and the 154-bed Children's Hospital of Georgia. GRU is a unit of the University System of Georgia and an equal opportunity institution.