Posted Monday, July 02, 2012
The Fourth of July is a time for celebration across the country, and here in Rhode Island fireworks are a crowd favorite each year. While fireworks can be fun to watch, they also pose danger for those setting them off and those around them.
Across the United States in 2010, an estimated 3,440 children ages 15 and under sustained injuries involving fireworks, with most of these injuries occurring between the middle of June to the middle of July. Children and teenagers are the most likely group to be injured as a result of consumer fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 40 percent of people injured by fireworks are under the age of 15. Fifty-three percent of those injured are under the age of 20.
“Don’t ever let kids play with fireworks or sparklers,” said Dina Morrissey, M.D., M.P.H., program coordinator for the Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Safe Kids Rhode Island coordinator. “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them. Adults should never use fireworks when children are present.”
The United States Fire Administration warns that children should never play with fireworks or sparklers. Sparklers can reach 2,000° Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some types of metal. Children should never be allowed to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, may 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,’” said Morrissey.
The Injury Prevention Center offers the following tips for fireworks safety:
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