Fireworks are a fantastic sight, and a part of many families’ summer celebrations. But the reality is that they are involved in a significant number of injuries to children each year.
In fact, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that of the 10,500 fireworks injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments in 2014, 35% of them happened to children younger than 15 years of age.
Even sparklers, which may seem child friendly, are actually quite dangerous – the tip of a sparkler can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, capable of producing a third-degree burn (and even melt gold!). Glow sticks are a much safer option.
While the safest way to enjoy fireworks is by watching the outdoor displays put on by professionals, if you plan to set off at-home fireworks this year, please take the following precautions from Dr. Pomerantz, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
IF AN INJURY DOES HAPPEN
Following the above safety precautions can help prevent injuries to the person lighting the fireworks and any bystanders. If an accident does happen, Dr. Pomerantz suggests a few guidelines for judging whether an injury needs at-home treatment or professional medical help. For injuries that involve the eyes, head, limbs, or smoke inhalation, seek immediate medical attention.
Minor burns can be treated at home by:
- Removing all clothing that is burned to prevent further damage to the skin
- Soaking a towel in cool water and applying directly to the affected area (or soak the skin in cool water)
- Avoiding ice; it can damage the skin further
- Unroofing large blisters to prevent infection
- Cleaning the wound with soap and water
- Applying moisturizer to superficial burns
- Applying triple antibiotic ointment for burns with blisters or deeper, followed by non-adhesive sterile dressing or bandage
- Controlling pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen