Grills, fireworks, and the American Flag are all iconic symbols of our upcoming July 4 festivities. But as you prepare to enjoy the thrill of fireworks to celebrate our nation’s Independent Day, it’s important to know that:
- In 2011, the latest year available, fireworks accounted for 9,600 injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Twenty-six percent of those injuries involved children age 14 and under. Forty percent involved adults ages 25 to 44 — in other words, young parents. So make sure you and your kids are following good safety practices. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Parents often don’t realize that young kids get injured even from sprinklers, that burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
- Injuries to hands and fingers are the most common from fireworks (46 percent), followed by eyes, heads, faces and ears (34 percent.) So never place any part of your body over the fireworks device when you’re lighting the fuse. Don’t pick up or try to re-light a firework that hasn’t ignited fully. Light fireworks one at a time and then move away immediately to a safe place. Be sure to pour water on fireworks once they are out to ensure they are not still hot.
- Keep a water hose or bucket of water nearby in case of fire or another emergency.
- Be careful what fireworks you buy. Be sure fireworks are legal in your community before buying or using then. And don’t buy fireworks packaged in brown paper. This often indicates they were made for professional use and could pose a danger to novice consumers.
- Watch your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is often part of July 4 parties, but alcohol and fireworks are a risky combination. Avoid consuming adult beverages if you’re handling fireworks.
The UCF College of Medicine and UCF Health wish you a safe, healthy and happy July 4.