Fourth of July Celebrations, Barbecues, Fireworks, and the ER
You might have packed the Pepto to protect yourself from Aunt Tillie’s potato salad and the SPF Broad spectrum sunscreen for Uncle George’s bald head, but you should also be mindful about protecting yourself against Independence Day injuries from fireworks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2004 about 9,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. Over half the injuries were burns and most of the injuries involved the hands, eyes, and head. About half of the victims were under 15 years of age. As you would expect most Fourth of July injuries are to the hands and fingers, but according to Prevent Blindness America, 1,400 were to the eyes, including contusions and lacerations, debris in the eye and burns. Eye injuries can take a very long time to heal, and can result in permanent vision loss.
So as you head out for the holiday, don’t forget to pack a dose of some common sense, and if you are living in a state that allows fireworks, take caution.
Some Fireworks Safety Tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
• Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks
• Read and follow all warnings and instructions
• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
• Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
• Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Keep a bucket of water in case of a malfunction or fire.