Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's
Fireworks are a fun and traditional way to celebrate Independence Day. They are a symbol to remind us of the “bombs bursting in air” that helped our nation become independent. Sadly, as beautiful as firework displays can be, they can also be just as dangerous without the right safety precautions. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 10,000 people are treated in emergency departments annually for fireworks-related injuries. Children under 15 years of age account for one-third of those injuries, and children under 4 have the highest rate of fireworks-related injuries of any other age group.
What can parents do to help their children enjoy the holiday safely? Here are some things to know:
- Public fireworks: The safest way to enjoy fireworks on the holiday is to leave them to the professionals and attend public fireworks displays. There are several opportunities for public fireworks this year, and many of them will be extra-special to make up for last year.
- Keep fireworks away from children: Children should never play with fireworks. Many firecrackers are extremely dangerous, and even sparklers can reach temperatures of 1,800°F (982°C) – hot enough to melt some metals. If you do choose to allow your older children to use sparklers, remember to use them outdoors and keep sparklers away from the face, hair and clothing. Most importantly, supervise children constantly. Phoenix Children’s recommends glowsticks instead of sparklers as a safe and fun alternative for younger children.
- Fireworks are not toys or games: Don’t allow older children to play dangerous games with fireworks. Throwing fireworks at each other can be very dangerous. Also, holding lit fireworks for too long can cause devastating explosion injuries that can burn and damage fingers and hands, in severe cases even cause amputations. If you can’t light a firecracker, treat it with respect and never relight a ‘dud’.
- Other safety tips: Never make your own fireworks, this can be dangerous for all. Dry surroundings increase the risk of fire, to reduce the risk wet down the area where you will be lighting fireworks and have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby to extinguish any firework remains before placing in the trash. Never allow children to pick up pieces of fireworks after they are finished – some are hot and may still be ignited and explode at any time. Be sure to keep lighters and matches away from children and safely stored away after the fireworks are over.
If a child is injured by fireworks, get them immediately to a hospital. If an eye injury happens, don’t let the child rub or touch their eye and don’t try to flush or treat the eye with ointment. Cover the eye, such as with the cut-out bottom of a paper cup and call for medical help right away. If a child is burned or has an explosion injury, remove the clothing from the burned area and call 9-1-1 immediately.
The staff at Phoenix Children’s knows the amazement that comes with watching a fireworks show. Together we can keep the oohs and ahs going for years to come. Phoenix Children’s is Arizona’s only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, meaning we have all of the experts in pediatric injury care that your child could need, including pediatric trauma surgeons, eye surgeons, and plastic surgeons.
Have a happy and safe Independence Day!