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Fireworks safety for the whole family

Bookmark and Share The summer heat, the smell of hamburgers on the grill and the sound of fireworks can only mean one thing: it's the Fourth of July. Before your family celebrates this year, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety. Did you know that fireworks-related injuries sent 11,000 people to the hospital in 2000? According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, most of these were burns and eye injuries and more than 40% occurred in children younger than 15. A doctor's advice
Fireworks safety tips
In case of injury
For more tips on keeping your family safe
A doctor's advice
"The best thing you can do to protect your child is not to use any fireworks at home - period," states Alan Shubert, MD, emergency physician at Virtua Memorial Hospital Burlington County. "Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals."
Fireworks safety tips
Lighting fireworks at home isn't legal in New Jersey, so be sure to check with your local police department before using them. If they're legal where you live, or in the location you plan to be this July 4, keep these safety tips in mind.
*Children should never play with fireworks. Things like firecrackers, rockets and spinners are just too dangerous. If you give your child a sparkler, make sure he keeps it outside and away from his face, clothing and hair. Sparklers can reach 1800 degrees Fahrenheit - hot enough to melt gold. And, according to Prevent Blindness America, sparklers are the second leading cause of fireworks injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.
*Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer's name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled), and store them in a cool, dry place. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M100, blockbuster or quarterpounder. These explosives were banned in 1966, but still account for one third of all fireworks injuries.
*Never try to make your own fireworks.
*Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
*Avoid groups of people when lighting fireworks, as they have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone.
*Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket - the friction could set them off.
*Point fireworks away from homes and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
*Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never re-light a dud.
*Don't allow your child to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
*Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trashcan. In case of injury
"If your child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital," advises Dr. Shubert. "If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don't flush out the eye with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place over the eye to shield it, and immediately seek medical attention - your child's eyesight may depend on it. If it's a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). Call your child's doctor immediately." Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you'll enjoy them much more knowing your family is safe. Take extra precautions this Fourth of July and your holiday will be a blast. For more tips on keeping your family safe
Keeping your child safe is your top priority, so visit www.virtua.org/kidshealth. Learn how to protect your child inside the house and out, what to do in an emergency, how to stock a first aid kit, where to call for help and more. Topics include:
-Outdoor and seasonal safety
-Home safety and first aid
-Emergencies: what to do
-Safety away from home
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