90 percent of emergency rooms visits due to fireworks involve consumer fireworks. More than half are burns. Many of the injuries are life-altering. Many experts recommend not using consumer or home fireworks at all, and to make summer memories at professionally conducted fireworks displays instead.
Did you know that more pets go missing around the Fourth of July than any other time of the year? They have acute hearing and smell, after all. Summertime fireworks and what may sound like cracklings of celebration outside can be absolutely terrifying to your pet! As pet owners, there are simple steps we can take to ensure that our pets stay comfortable during fireworks blasts. Act comforting, act normal, and help filter out some of the noise with distractions. Here’s a reminder infographic to help keep these steps in mind.
The risk of fireworks injury is highest for children ages 5-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population.
This is not to say kindergarteners are setting off fireworks (we certainly hope not!). This is a serious reminder that bystanders are in as much danger (or more) than the people who are doing the actual lighting. However, even sparklers – a kid favorite – can reach temperatures around 1000 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit!
“Safe and sane fireworks don’t exist,” says Dr. John Hall, Division Manager of Fire Analysis and Research for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “When things go wrong with fireworks, they go very wrong, very fast, far faster than any fire protection provisions can reliably respond.”
Besides the obvious entry of “parents everywhere”, people that are committed to promoting injury prevention and fire safety during Fourth of July celebrations (and New Year’s and other days that are observed with the lighting of fireworks) include:
Consumer Product Safety Commission
National Fire Protection Association
Offices of Fire Marshals
National Council on Fireworks Safety
National, state, and local organizations are getting together this Independence Day because it is the time of year in which there are the most injuries due to consumer fireworks. These injuries can be grievous and life-altering. No one likes the idea that a few simple minutes of flash and bang can turn into a lifetime of blindness or debilitating injury, and these organizations are making the moves necessary to limit the availability of home fireworks to help prevent it.
In the month surrounding Independence Day (before and after), 200 people a day end up in the emergency room due to consumer fireworks-related injuries. Those that died did so because they were monkeying around with their own homemade devices.
In 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries; 57% of 2010 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 37% were to the head.
Most of the injuries were from sparklers, reloadable shells, and firecrackers, though a third of all injuries was unspecified. The most grievous injuries include loss of limbs and disfiguring burns that never go away.
Property Damage, Fires
Typically, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 total structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 14,100 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in eight reported civilian deaths, 60 civilian injuries and $36 million in direct property damage. Though different than bodily harm, this type of damage is no small thing.
Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has founded the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks. The Alliance is working to warn individuals about the dangers of consumer fireworks and instead, encourages people to celebrate and enjoy holidays with professional displays of fireworks.
The Alliance members include:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Association of Public Health Physicians
American Burn Association
American College of Emergency Physicians
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery
American Society for Surgery of the Hand
Center for Injury Research & Policy
Emergency Nurses Association
Fire Department Safety Officers Association
International Association of Arson Investigators
International Association of Fire Chiefs
International Association of Fire Fighters
International Fire Marshals Association
Metropolitan Fire Chiefs
Minnesotans For Safe Fireworks
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Association of State Fire Marshals
National Association of School Nurses
National Volunteer Fire Council
Prevent Blindness America
Too Risky for Amateurs, says NFPA
To keep the public safe from fireworks-related injuries and deaths, the nonprofit NFPA urges everyone to treat fireworks, whether legal or illegal, as suitable only for use by trained professionals.
Some of the more dangerous fireworks are the ones that fail to discharge or explode. They may be lying around for people, and especially curious children, to pick up. Many are still active despite not going off right away. They are simply too risky to handle and should be disposed of in a bucket of water immediately.
Michael Shannon was killed as he was standing between his daddy’s legs during a family celebration one Fourth of July. His mother said that she assumed these products were safe because they were on the market. She couldn’t have been more wrong, and she lost her son due to her assumption.
The Shannons have been working to spread the awareness of the dangers of consumer fireworks to other families like theirs who may think they can use them safely. It is their message that there simply is not.
Please Stay Safe
Though we’ve taken the stance that consumer fireworks should be avoided, we would like to share some safety tips in the interest of harm reduction.
Know your fireworks; Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
Avoid fireworks packaged in brown paper. Thee are generally not consumer grade or made for professional displays.
Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
This infographic may help put things in perspective! Sparklers are home fireworks that are preferred by children and young adults because of how brilliant and flashy they are, and how easily available they often are. But, as we’ve mentioned before, sparklers reach temperatures above 1,800° Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt gold. It’s twice as hot as the temperature at which wood burns. Sparklers require caution! Let’s handle these bright symbols of Fourth of July carefully, and make sure our kids remember home celebrations fondly.
Do you – and more importantly, your kids – know all the basics when it comes to fireworks safety? This quick and interactive quiz from the National Council on Fireworks Safety is a great way to test your knowledge. Sit down and go through it with your kids, and use it to start a conversation on consumer fireworks safety.
Just make sure to have your conversation before the excitement for the Fourth of July holiday starts to build up, as you want your kids’ full attention to the matter. There’s also a six-minute video on the site that explains the proper way to obtain and use consumer fireworks.
When fireworks hurt someone, they can alter that person’s life forever. From burns to blindness to loss of limbs, injuries from fireworks are never pleasant. With a few eye-opening blasts, the Consumer Product Safety Commission presents this video as a way to deter people from unsafe consumer fireworks usage – with a particular caution NOT to make your own. We urge you as well to please put safety first if you choose to engage in home fireworks.
Not surprisingly, the majority of fireworks injuries each year happen around the Fourth of July. Out of all types of home fireworks, it’s sparklers that cause the most injuries.
For the entire month surrounding the holiday, about 200 people every day make a trip to the emergency room due to fireworks injuries. Homemade or illegal fireworks account for all of the four deaths that were reported in 2011. More than half were burns. Hands and fingers were most often injured, but there were also significant amount of eyes injuries, as well as face, head, and ear injuries. These and other important fireworks injury statistics are compiled in an infographic by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Be sure to scroll through to see the Tips on staying safe.
We love fireworks because they’re loud, spectacular displays of fire in the sky. Even the simplest fireworks festival can elicit gasps from kids and grownups alike. Most of us have memories of summer nights with sparklers or firecrackers. Home fireworks have become a summertime and Fourth of July tradition.
But so too have summertime burns and injuries in hospitals across the U.S. – so much so that there are movements to ban home fireworks altogether or, at the very least, to keep most of them out of the hands of anyone who is not a professional pyrotechnics expert.
Home fireworks can burn the skin and eyes, causing permanent damage. Even sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit. The sparks are easily transferred to hair, clothing, or any nearby flammables or wicks. There are all sorts of fireworks available on the market today, many of which are illegal in certain areas. It’s always a good idea to double-check local laws to see if home fireworks are legal and which are so.
This week, we be sharing some tips on staying safe during the Fourth of July holiday. We’ll also share some scary statistics and video from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Technology constantly finds new and innovative ways to facilitate parenting. Just a few years ago, baby monitors were generally expensive, bulky, full of static, and had very basic features. Now, we’ve got everything from networking capability to crystal-clear video monitoring.
Of course, these are just tools. Nothing will ever replace our parental love and devotion, but these tools help us do what we do in a more sophisticated way.
This week we covered many different uses of baby monitors, including being a support to parents with autistic children or those with developmental delays or disabilities. We also covered one of the most advanced, useful, and affordable baby monitors on the market today: The MobiCam Digital DL audio/video baby monitor system (hint: digital is safer!). We hope it was eye-opening but reassuring that there are so many products on the market that support parenting.
The most trusted name in consumer products reviews and reporting, Consumer Reports, offers some great tips on choosing a baby monitor. The latest baby monitoring technology makes use of wireless networking, gives you a choice between digital and analog devices (digital is safer), and brings up concerns such as interference. It also addresses some of the emotional effect that a video monitor can have on a parent. This is a great list of concerns to address before making your purchase.