How to stay safe on the Fourth of July
Fourth of July weekend can be exciting, especially for kids. But with fireworks can come safety hazards. Dr. Shannon Staley, division director of pediatric emergency medicine at Advocate Children’s Hospital has spent more than 9 years in an emergency department, particularly on holiday weekends, and has a key piece of advice to parents.
“Honestly, stay away from all fireworks,” says Dr. Staley. “Home fireworks cause thousands of preventable injuries every year. Given the risk of injury and limited regulation, fireworks should be left to the professionals.”
Dr. Staley suggests that you watch a professional show from a safe distance and explain to children that fireworks are made to explode and create fire that can easily cause permanent harm. Glow sticks or glow toys at night, however, can be a fun and safe substitute.
“Every year around the Fourth of July, we see children in our emergency departments with severe burns to their hands and face and eye injuries that can include vision loss,” she said. “The cause is usually due to handling or being too close to fireworks that explode unexpectedly.”
Restricting access for younger kids and explaining injuries to teens and young adults who may access them on their own is the best way to avoid harmful accidents. You may think sparklers are low risk for kids, but they can burn at temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and are a frequent cause of hand burns when children touch or drop them, Dr. Stanley said.
“Enjoy the Fourth of July with family and friends. Everyone deserves some fun and relaxation after the past year and a half but leave the fireworks to the professionals,” she said. “It’s the best way to avoid seeing me over the holiday weekend!”