Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Have a safe 4th of July

This weekend kicks off 4th of July celebrations. In our 234th year as a nation people from all over the country will be having
bar-b-ques and watching fireworks displays. An All American holiday, the Fourth of July is a time of family, friends and neighbors gathering together to celebrate our country and our freedom.


Fireworks displays are grand and glorious. The explosion and crackle of fireworks along with their deafening boom delight us and gives us reason to smile. Unfortunately many communities this year are cancelling their celebration due to budget restraints. Many families will purchase fireworks themselves instead. We take this opportunity to remind parents that fireworks burn at very high temperatures and can be unpredictable. Each year emergency rooms treat burns and bodily injuries caused by fireworks.

In the state of Illinois, the only fireworks that are legal are sparklers and small devices such as snakes, party poppers and ground spinners. While sparklers seem innocent enough, they burn at 1,000 – 2,000 degrees (Fahrenheit). Skin burns at 130 degrees and catches on fire at 480 degrees (Fahrenheit). The temperature from a curling iron pales in comparison! Yet we can buy them at the local grocery store.

Children love sparklers. But they often do not realize the danger. They will dance around, run or even set a sparkler in the grass while it burns. For areas where the grass is dry, obviously sparks can ignite. But children who run or dance risk the chance of igniting their hair, clothes or others.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission there were approximately 9,000 people treated at emergency rooms in 2009 because of fireworks. Of that, 6,000 of those injuries happened during a 30 day period surrounding the 4th of July holiday. Over 50% of those injured were treated for burns. The highest ratio of injuries involved teens between 15 – 19 years of age. 73% of injuries involved boys. Sparklers were responsible for 1/3rd of fireworks injuries sustained by children under 5 years of age.

To help consumers use fireworks more safely, the CPSC offers the following recommendations:

• Do not allow young children to play with fire-works under any circumstances. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal "safe" firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.

• Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.

• Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.

• Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't go off.

• Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.

• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

• Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.

• Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.

• Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.

• Observe local laws.

• Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.

• Don't experiment with homemade fireworks.

You can find more information at:

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/fireworks/index.html

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10282.html

http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/1/190

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/pages/Stay-Safe-this-4th-of-July.aspx

http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=297




photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50433172@N04/4627771450/sizes/m/

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