The Fourth of July is, like Thanksgiving, one of the great American holidays. This one is our national birthday party, but our cake is the sky and our candles are fireworks. In 2018 our nation will celebrate 242 years of American democracy, making us the longest running national democracy in the history of the world. Let us hope and act to keep that number growing.
Fireworks, when exploded by trained professionals, can be glorious to watch.
But, sadly, like all explosives, they can cause really awful injuries.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), maintains a policy statement on firework safety, here is the current policy:
The basic fact about fireworks and kids is that explosives, when they explode, can cause serious damage.
In just one year surveyed, there were over 3,800 children who landed in the ER from fireworks injuries.
Injuries from explosives should come as no surprise, so this Fourth of July, make sure your children, of any age, do not handle burning and exploding objects without some very obvious safeguards:
- Don’t use illegal fireworks. All fireworks sold outside of licensed outlets are illegal. About half the serious injuries from fireworks are from this group. About half of all loss of eyes from fireworks in children come from bottle rockets.
- The legal fireworks are known as Class C or consumer fireworks, but they still can blind and maim. About 10 states ban these “legal” fireworks, and another 5 ban them all except sparklers and snakes.
- Sparklers look harmless, but they are not. When used safely they are safe, but their tips get up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and can ignite clothing causing serious burns. About 2/3 of the people injured by sparklers are 5 and under.
- Even when used under supervision, harm can occur. One study found that injured children were bystanders in 24% of cases, and had adult supervision in 54%.
- Fireworks start fires. Lots of them, about 20,000 fires in one year.
DON’T USE FIREWORKS. THEY ARE NOT SAFE
So, here is to America’s 242nd Birthday, Happy Fourth of July, don’t get burned.
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin