Don't Spend Your 4th of July in a Hospital
What would the 4th of July be without fireworks? A little less busy in hospital emergency rooms. In 2008, about 7,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. People ranging in age from 15 to 19 years old had the highest per capita injury rate among all age groups. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is urging everyone to be extremely careful with fireworks this 4th of July, and reminding patriotic celebrants that there is no such thing as completely "safe" fireworks.
"I think the safest and best way to enjoy the 4th is to watch a professional display," said Dr. Rick Blum, ACEP spokesperson. "For those folks who can buy legal fireworks in their community, I recommend extreme caution, especially if children are present." "I've seen cases where a few minutes of well-intentioned fun has resulted in lifelong disabilities."
More than two-thirds of those fireworks injuries occurred between June 19 and July 19. Most of the injuries involved burns, with hands and eyes being the most common parts of the body injured.
"Parents have to realize that fireworks aren't just available to children on the 4th of July," said Dr. Blum. "Fireworks stands are open a large part of the summer in many communities, and emergency physicians see fireworks injuries for many weeks."
If fireworks are legal in your community, ACEP strongly suggests you do not use fireworks at your home. If you do use fireworks, however, these do's and don'ts will help make it a safer experience.
- Buy fireworks from reputable dealers
- Read warning labels and follow all instructions
- Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher on hand
- Light fireworks one at a time
- Dispose of all fireworks properly
- Give any fireworks, including sparklers, to small children; older children should be supervised by an adult
- Light fireworks indoors or near other objects
- Wear loose clothing while using any fireworks
- Set off fireworks in glass or metal containers- the fragments can cause severe injury
- Try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks