Celebrate Fireworks Safely on the Fourth
Fireworks displays hosted by professionals are a safe and festive way to celebrate a holiday. However, between 2,000 and 10,000 children ages 14 and under will be treated with injuries from firework activities. Partly, this is due to illegal fireworks, but they aren’t the only culprits. Firecrackers and rockets contribute to accidents but sparklers, which are legal in Iowa, also cause many accidents. Many people are not aware that sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is almost hot enough to melt gold. Fireworks-related injuries often involve the hands/fingers, eyes or head, and can sometimes result in amputations, blindings or even death. More than half of fireworks-related injuries result in burns.
Due to the risks associated with consumers using fireworks, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have called to prohibit the use of private fireworks. Consumer fireworks regulations are determined by each state. Iowa law only allows private use of novelty fireworks. These items include gold sparklers containing no magnesium, chlorate or perchlorate; filter sparklers not more than 1/8 inch in diameter; and "snakes" containing no mercury.
“Parents need to realize that even sparklers can be extremely dangerous,” said Janna Day, Advocacy and Outreach Program Coordinator for Blank Children’s Hospital
Explosive devices like sparklers account for most fireworks-related injuries. The majority of these injuries occur when adults have been drinking or when children are not being supervised. According to the AAP, children younger than 14 accounts for almost half of all consumer fireworks-related injuries. The hands, eyes and head/face are the most often injured parts. About one-third of the eye injuries result in permanent blindness.
“With all of the dangers associated with consumer fireworks, we really encourage parents to take their children to see professional fireworks displays as an alternative,” Day said. “But if they insist on lighting fireworks, parents should take extra precautions to make sure their kids are safe.”
Celebrate the Fourth of July Safely
- Close adult supervision and safety education are needed to reduce the high numbers of fireworks-related injuries to kids and teens.
- Always remember to put safety first.
- You can have a good time and be safe too.
If your child is injured by fireworks, immediately seek medical attention.
- If an eye injury occurs, do not allow your child to touch or rub the eye, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don’t flush the eye out with water to attempt to put any ointment on it.
- Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and visit a doctor immediately.
- If fireworks burn your child, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn.
- Do not apply ice. For any injury requiring immediate medical attention, call 911 and get to the closest emergency room.
If you take these extra precautions whenever shooting off fireworks, you’ll reduce your child’s risk of injury.
The Fourth of July is the perfect opportunity for families to come together and enjoy each other's company, and with the proper precautions, everyone can have a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Fireworks Safety Tip