“All Fireworks Pose a Safety Threat”
INDIANAPOLIS – What may seem like innocent, holiday fun could turn out to be anything but this Fourth of July. That’s why Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health is reminding families about the dangers of consumer fireworks.
“We echo the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that families should attend community firework displays rather than putting on their own,” said Dr. Elizabeth Weinstein, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Riley at IU Health. “People don’t realize that all fireworks pose a safety threat and significant injuries have been reported with all types – even the ones marketed as ‘safe’ or appropriate for children.”
Of the estimated 9,600 firework injuries treated in emergency rooms nationwide in 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says about a quarter of those were to children under age 15. Fireworks can result in severe burns, scars, disfigurement and even death.
“You can never be too careful with fireworks. For instance, don’t let size fool you. Sparklers, bottle rockets and small firecrackers actually cause serious injuries,” Weinstein said. “And contrary to what some might think, malfunctioning fireworks only contribute to some of the reported injuries. Bystanders and children are often hurt as well.”
If parents and neighbors insist on using fireworks at home, Riley at IU Health and the CPSC recommend these precautions to help ensure a safe celebration:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging as they could be intended for professional displays and pose a danger to consumers.
- Keep all children at a distance from fireworks and never allow them to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Adults should always supervise fireworks activities – never leave children unattended with fireworks.
- Take care with sparklers – they burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees and injure many children.
- Light one item at a time then move back to a safe distance immediately.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully burned.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
For more information or to interview Dr. Elizabeth Weinstein, please call Kit Werbe at 317.963.7692.
About Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health For more than 85 years, Riley at IU Health has been one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals. Each year, Riley at IU Health provides compassionate care, support and comfort to 215,000 inpatients and outpatients from across Indiana, the nation and the world. Part of Indiana University Health, our unique partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology.