Friday, July 3, 2009

Remember Fireworks Safety This Weekend

What would the Fourth of July be without fireworks?

But if you’ve ever shuddered at seeing a 5-year-old waving a sparkler with abandon, you have good cause to be scared – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sparklers accounted for one-third of the injuries to children less than 5 years of age. In 2006, 11 people died and an estimated 9,200 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States.

Sandra Garrett, Sinai ER-7 nurse manager, says it’s not uncommon to see children with fireworks' injuries on this holiday weekend. A child's skin tends to be thinner and damages more easily from fire, she says.

“It’s important to remember that burns can be prevented,” Garrett says.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends that only children over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers. Other tips for firework safety include never relighting a “dud” firework, always having water handy, not allowing anyone intoxicated to handle the pyrotechnics, and never making your own fireworks. All children and pets should be kept at a safe distance from fireworks.

In the event of a problem, Garrett says the first step is to stop the burning process.

Then, “put water or ice on the burn, not an ointment,” she says.

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