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01 July 2013 By James M. Johnson 0 comments

4th of July Safety

I have a large family and as a husband and father, one of the most important things to me is the safety of my children. If you are a parent, I’m sure you feel the same way. We’ve developed this infographic and information to help make sure children and adults stay safe on this upcoming 4th of July!

Keep Safe from Injuries!

Whether it’s the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve fireworks help to celebrate our most momentous occasions. The sounds of fireworks may be one of our favorite American past times but the sound of sirens is not! When you are using fireworks you must remember that they are very dangerous and are not just toys that look cool when they explode. Fireworks safety is very important especially since an estimated 9,140 people a year on average are injured by fireworks and an average of 6.6 people die every year because of a lack of fireworks safety.

Of all the fireworks related injuries sustained in the United States 68 percent of these were males compared to 32 percent of females. And from this 26 percent were children under the age of 15. Most of these child related injuries were due to sparklers which most parents deem as safe. The risk of injury or death are significant when using any type of fireworks including sparklers which can burn upwards to 2,000 degrees enough to melt some metals. Fireworks labelled as “safe and sane” can still burn, blind, or kill you. So never let a child handle any fireworks including sparklers.

One example of a child death due to sparklers happened in Florida, a 2 year old child died from smoke inhalation due to a fire that occurred in the laundry room of a mobile home. The fire started when the 3 year old sibling accidentally lit a combustible with a sparkler causing the blaze. Another famous case occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina, 3 year old Michael Shannon was killed by a consumer firework at a family Fourth of July celebration. It happened when a legal consumer firework tipped over and struck him in the head while he stood between his father’s legs more than 40 feet away from the launch. After his death the particular firework device involved was taken off the market, but many similar devices still remain available to consumers.

An estimated 1,200 emergency department treated injuries in 2012 were associated with firecrackers, 600 from sparklers and 400 from bottle rockets. Showing the true dangers of sparklers and other fireworks. More than half of the emergency department treated injuries were burns. Burns are the most common injury to all parts of the body, except the eyes where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occurred more frequently. In fact more than 400 American’s will lose sight in one or both eyes due to firework injuries.

Data collected from more than 40 telephone follow-up investigations in 2012 by the CPSC show that of the incidents that occurred most injuries were associated with malfunctioning or misused fireworks. Most typical malfunctions occurred were: fireworks exploding earlier or later than expected, errant flight paths and the launching tubes or aerial shells tipping over. Misuse of the devices also occurred such as: dismantling fireworks, setting fireworks off improperly, lighting fireworks too close to other fireworks or persons, and holding fireworks in one’s hand.

If you do decide to use fireworks this Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve be sure to follow these safety tips to help prevent injuries and have a safe time.

  • Be sure to check if fireworks are legal in your area before you purchase them many states such as: Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island ban all consumer fireworks. And states such as California have very strict policies on consumer fireworks and in many cases you can be fined or jailed. Certain states also only permit use of sparklers such as: Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Maine and Vermont. Also be sure to check the legal dates and times in which you can buy them in your state
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because often this is a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire
  • Never throw fireworks at people
  • Never keep fireworks in your pocket
  • Keep all animals inside and away from fireworks, the day after the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve are the busiest times for shelters for lost pets because fireworks scare animals. Be sure to keep them locked inside in a safe area with the TV or music on to help them when the blasts go off
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a safe, non-wooden area
  • Having a working garden hose or bucket of water handy
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
  • Always wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks

Sources of the data here:

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