Tips to keep children, family safe July 4th

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With Independence Day quickly approaching, citizens should consider the risks fireworks pose to children and families, and ensure that proper precautions are taken to avoid a holiday trip to the ER.

Fireworks over Downtown Lafayette via

Fireworks over downtown Lafayette in 2005. (Photo via

According to the CDC, eleven people died and an estimated 9,200 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States in the 2006 July Fourth season. Half of injuries were burns and most of the injuries involved the hands, eyes and legs. Forty percent of injuries were to children age 15 and younger.

The best way to protect your family is to not use fireworks at your home. Instead, celebrate by visiting a local professional fireworks display. In Greater Lafayette, the annual 4th of July Stars & Stripes Concert and Fireworks display is a free and convenient alternative to DIY pyrotechnics.

If you must set off fireworks at your home, keep in mind the following fireworks safety tips:

  • Only purchase legal fireworks. They can be identified by a label with a manufacturer’s name and directions for use.
  • Light one firework at a time.
  • Never light a firework in your hand.
  • Never try to relight a “dud”.
  • Set fireworks off from a hard surface such as concrete or a plywood board.
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby to pour on the fireworks if necessary.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away.
  • Never use fireworks while intoxicated.
  • Only set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area.
  • Be cautious of wind conditions.
  • Keep spectators at a safe distance and not downwind from the display.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

Sparklers are especially hazardous to young children. With temperatures reaching more than 1,000°F, they accounted for 16 percent of injuries in 2008. Only use sparklers outside and keep them away from your face, clothing and hair.

If you or your family is burned or struck by a firework, go to an Urgent Care facility immediately. With an eye injury, do not rub and do not flush with water. If burned, rinse with cool, not cold, water before going to the nearest Urgent Care.

If the injuries occur after Urgent Care hours, or for severe burns or injuries, go to the nearest Emergency Room immediately.

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