The celebration of July 4th brings to mind warm weather, cookouts and, for many, fireworks. Taking in a fireworks show can be a fun time for your family on a summer night, but don’t forget the dangers of these explosives.
A report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that families should attend professional fireworks displays instead of buying the products to use at home. If you decide to purchase your own fireworks, always read instructions and use fireworks under direction from the packaging, and never attempt to change the fireworks in any way. Make sure only adults light fireworks, and keep fireworks away from houses, trees and the audience.
Keep children and toddlers a safe distance from fireworks at all times. Loud noises from the fireworks may also scare your toddler, so be mindful of products with whistles or “screaming” sounds.
The Sparkler Dilemma
With their glowing lights and shiny sparks, fireworks commonly known as sparklers are often mistaken for a safe alternative for all ages. In reality, about 16 percent of fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers, according to the National Council of Fireworks Safety, and many of these injuries happen to small children. From June 18 to July 18, sparklers are the cause of more than half of injuries in children younger than age 5, according to the CDC. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the bright tips may seem attractive to younger children who do not understand the danger of the flame. These fireworks can also burn through clothing, especially lightweight fabrics worn during the peak summer season.
Other smaller fireworks many consider safe for children can also be dangerous. The CDC reports that firecrackers and rockets cause 26 and 17 percent of injuries during the peak season, respectively. Even if these smaller fireworks are packaged with child-friendly designs, do not assume they are safe. Use your best judgment to determine if your child can use any fireworks, while keeping all products away from children younger than 12 years old.
For other summer safety tips for your family, search “summer safety” above.
Reviewed by David Zipes, M.D., pediatric hospitalist, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.