Arguably, after our flag and our Declaration of Independence, fireworks and sparklers are special features of America’s Independence Day celebrations.
But for thousands, each year, the thrill of using them at home is offset by pain, disfiguration and lasting damage (including mental) from the injuries, and the loss of property, caused by them.
Not to be a party pooper – We just want you to enjoy every Independence Day, in GOOD HEALTH. But all of us risk getting badly hurt, especially when pyro-technic specialists are not involved. And one group will be hurt most of all: Children.
Little ones are at special risk for injury from sparklers and fireworks, and have accounted for more than a third of emergency room visits, for these kinds of injuries. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are more than twice as likely as people in other age groups to be injured by sparklers and fireworks. They are too young to understand the danger; yet they are old enough to get handed a sparkler, without precaution.
One parent tried to protect little hands, by using a red Solo cup, and poking the sparkler handle through it. The cup melted onto the little one’s fingers, and the child’s clothing still caught fire.
Their little arms don’t extend the harmless-looking spark far enough from their clothing; so, many kids suffer very serious burns. That’s because a sparkler burns at about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt some metals. It will catch clothing on fire within seconds, then spread before a minute passes (thank you, Chicago Fire Department, for demonstrating this on ABC 7).
Get some GLOW STICKS at the dollar store, instead. They’ll be just as much fun, last much longer, and keep sweet little people safe while they celebrate.
“If you want to experience the spectacle of fireworks with your family, attend a public fireworks display,” says Gina Duchossois, an injury prevention expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “Even if fireworks are legal to purchase and use in your community, they are not safe around children.”
The following is from the CHOP website:
The risk of burns from sparklers:
“Some people treat sparklers much too casually,” says Duchossois. “They allow children to play with them as if they were toys. But sparklers burn at an extremely high heat: 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt some metals. The sparks can cause burns and eye injuries, and touching a lit sparkler to skin can result in a serious burn.”
More than half of the fireworks injuries to children under the age of 5 are caused by sparklers. Among the casualties listed in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2017 Fireworks Annual Report was a 4-year-old girl who died from a sparkler-caused injury.
If you think your older children are mature enough to use sparklers safely, only let them do so under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay while they are using sparklers.
Basic fireworks safety:
If you do choose to use fireworks at home, keep children well away from them and follow these basic safety practices:
- Know what types of fireworks are legal in your community before buying or using them.
- Have a bucket of water or garden hose on hand in case of a fire or other accident when using any fireworks, including sparklers.
- Light fireworks one at a time, on a dry, flat surface, and move back quickly to a safe distance.
- Never place any part of your body over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not gone off as expected.
- Never set off fireworks in glass or metal containers.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- After fireworks have ignited, douse them with water before putting them in the trash.