With warm weather and the summer season in full swing, it’s time for the 4th of July festivities—especially fireworks! Before you begin your patriotic celebrations, make sure you learn about fireworks safety.
“Fireworks can be extremely dangerous if not used safely and appropriately,” says Steven Gamburg, MD, FACEP, Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Main Line Health. “Parents need to be especially vigilant in supervising their children. Each year around this time, we see many burn injuries—most often with children and teens—from improper fireworks usage. It’s important to follow proper precautions to avoid serious injuries and burns.”
In 2013, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,400 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Sixty-five percent of those injuries occurred from June 21-July 21 (during most summer/July 4th celebrations). Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for approximately 40 percent of the estimated 2013 injuries, and more than half of the estimated emergency department–treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
Follow these safety tips when using fireworks (CPSC, 2014):
1. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, even sparklers.
2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents may not realize that young children can also suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
3. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
4. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
5. Light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly.
6. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
7. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
All fireworks can be dangerous, including sparklers. Because of the risk, families are encouraged to attend a public fireworks display instead. Enjoy yourself and leave it to the professionals to make the celebration a safe and relaxing event for all.
For information about Emergency Medicine services at Main Line Health, please visit mainlinehealth.org or call 1.866.CALL.MLH.
Founded in 1985, Main Line Health (MLH) is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. At its core are four of the region’s respected acute care hospitals — Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital — as well as one of the nation’s premier facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital; Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; and HomeCare & Hospice, a home health service. Main Line Health also consists of Main Line HealthCare, one of the region’s largest multi-specialty physician networks, and the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a non-profit biomedical research organization located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center. Main Line Health also consists of four outpatient health centers located in Broomall, Collegeville, Exton and Newtown Square. Main Line Health hospitals, with more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians, are the recipients of numerous awards for quality care and service, including recognition among Truven Health Analytics’ list of Top 100 Hospitals and top 20% of health systems in the nation, and Magnet®, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence. Main Line Health is among the area’s leaders in medicine, providing advanced patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy.
Mary Kate Coghlan
© 2014 Main Line Health