Thursday, June 13, 2013

Prevent Fireworks Injuries this July 4th

Summer is just starting, but before you know it, Fourth of July celebrations will be in full force. Fireworks will accompany many of those celebrations and, unfortunately, some injuries will result. Even products considered to be safe, like sparklers and small firecrackers, can cause serious burns or damage to the eyes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), nearly half of those injured by fireworks each year are under the age of 15. It’s not too early to start thinking about ways to protect your children this July 4th, or how to care for them if an injury does occur.

Safety first!
  • Use fireworks, firecrackers and sparklers outdoors only.
  • Never leave children unattended with fireworks or sparklers.
  • Always read and follow label directions on all fireworks carefully.
  • Make sure children maintain a safe distance from the area where fireworks are being lit.
  • Have water nearby (a garden hose and a bucket) to soak used sparklers and other fireworks to make sure they're extinguished.
  • Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

How to care for a first-degree (top layer of skin) burn: 
  • Hold the injured area under cool (not cold) running water or immerse in cool water until pain subsides. Use cool compresses if running water isn’t available.
  • Protect the burn by covering it with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth. Do not apply butter or ointments, which can cause infection.
  • Give an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve) according to the product’s label.
  • Seek help from a doctor if pain and redness last more than a few hours or if signs of infection develop (worsening pain, redness, swelling, fever or oozing).

Call 911 if:
  • The burn penetrates all layers of skin
  • Skin looks leathery or charred, with patches of white, brown or black
  • The burn blister oozes or is larger than two inches
  • The person burned is an infant or elderly

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