Thursday, July 24, 2014

Play it safe with fireworks

warns Rene Hopkins, a nurse educator and Coordinator of Safe Kids Greater Augusta

Rene Hopkins

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Fireworks have become synonymous with celebrating America’s freedom and independence, but playing around with them can rob you of yours.

“Every Fourth of July thousands of children and adults are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries, mostly burns to the hands, head and face. Unless you are a pyrotechnic professional, you should not play around with these dangerous devices,” warns Rene Hopkins, a nurse educator and Coordinator of Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

Safe Kids and CHOG recommend the following tips to help keep you and your family safe around fireworks:

Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

  • The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
  • If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.

Be Extra Careful With Sparklers

  • Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Give young children glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun, but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.

“Sparklers cause the greatest number of injuries, with children ages 5 to 14 being injured by sparklers more than any other type of fireworks,” says Hopkins.

Take Necessary Precautions

  • Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.

Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury

  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

“Fireworks are explosives, not playthings,” Hopkins cautions. “They can cause severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can last a lifetime. So, be careful.”

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