PARENTS – Please Read Before Independence Day!

girl, fireworks, sparkler, kidsI got hit with a firecracker when I was 15. It really hurt. I was hanging out on a beach, with a dangerous crowd. I think I was kidnapped and brought there and forced to drink beer (in case my dad is reading.) I was sitting on the sand and a live firecracker jumped into my lap and burned my inner thigh. I couldn’t get medical care because then, I’d get in trouble. My friends poured the ice from the cooler on me, which also wasn’t too pleasant — or, helpful. I had the scar for years. Bottom Line: Fireworks by nature of the fact they are on fire, are dangerous. Keep your kids away and read the following by Dr. Lee, Director of the Pediatric Emergency Room at Valley Hospital.

Leave Fireworks to the Pros
By Peter Lee, M.D., Director , Pediatric Emergency Room, Valley Hospital, NJ

In the hands of untrained consumers and children, fireworks can cause fires, injuries, and even death.  They can cause severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can last a lifetime. Even fireworks mistakenly thought to be safe, like sparklers – which can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – can burn users and bystanders.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 200 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.  The majority of the injuries involve the hands, fingers, eyes head and ears.

Currently, only seven states – including New Jersey – ban all consumer fireworks.  Such bans have been linked to significantly lower rates of fireworks-released injuries and fires. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended prohibiting the public sale of all fireworks, including those by mail or the Internet, and encourages families to enjoy public displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.

The fact is, there is no such thing as “safe” fireworks.  Even public fireworks displays should be viewed at a safe distance.  The American tradition of fireworks on the Fourth of July is a joyful one, but one best left to professionals.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.

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