Keeping Kids Safe This Fourth Of July
I may sound like a scaredy-cat, but fireworks make me nervous. All that explosive power in the hands of random individuals doesn’t make me at ease. They may be beautiful, traditional ways of celebrating, especially this time of year, but that doesn’t make me comfortable when it comes to kids being nearby these dangerous items.
Fireworks-related injuries affect the 15-24-year-old age group the most (this isn’t really a surprise, we all know that these young people are probably able to buy the fireworks themselves, and engage in activities where they may not be making the best decisions). But the next most affected age group are those kids under 10 years old. (2) These are the ones that usually are “supervised” by us parents! And they still get injured! Many families feel that if they simply don’t let the kids ignite the fireworks or if they are supervising the activity, things will be fine. This is not the case: 26% of the time the injured kid was an innocent bystander and in 54% of injuries they were “supervised” by an adult. (1)
The injuries caused by fireworks range from cuts/scrapes/burns to blindness/deafness and death. Even the sparklers (which seem mild compared to bottle rockets, etc.) are dangerous—the tip can reach 1000-1200 degrees F and they alone cause 10% of all fireworks injuries. (1,2)
For those adults who are determined to have their own display remember:
- Adults only when it comes to igniting fireworks
- Make sure you are in an open area (outdoors) with flat/level ground
- Wear safety glasses
- Don’t trust a dud, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water
- Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks
- Don’t buy illegal fireworks or ones from unreliable sources
- These and other tips can be found at The National Council on Fireworks Safety
Despite these tips, there really is no way to ensure total safety around fireworks. Therefore the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that it is safest to leave the fireworks to the professionals. In fact, the AAP (as well as many other professional organizations) support the ban of fireworks sales for the individual, private use.
We are lucky to have a plethora of events that have public displays of professional fireworks. These are the safest way to enjoy fireworks with kids.
1.) Fireworks-Related Injuries to Children: Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention
PEDIATRICS Vol. 108 No. 1 July 1, 2001
pp. 190 -191
These blogs were written by members of the CHI Health Pediatrics team.