As a child, I grew up in Colorado, and my parents never purchased those expensive more dangerous Roman Candles. They weren’t actually sold in the state. That isn’t to say in high school that I didn’t have friends, who crossed the border to Wyoming to purchase those wonderful fireworks that I never had as a child. However, in 1st grade I remember my next door neighbor setting the field behind our house on fire, probably due to a bottle rocket, and my dad getting the hose out to put the fire out. So I actually grew up leery of these fireworks.
However, funny enough, sparklers were a great idea. Sparklers in our hand burning at 1200 degrees. Funny thinking back, we all thought sparklers as a fun thing for those of us not allowed to play with matches. But there was and still is a potential for significant burns for the kiddos.
The fourth of July, while a celebration of independence results in an increase in emergency room visits especially due to burns. There was an estimated 8,600 people treated for burns in the ER on the 4th in 2010.
Fireworks are wonderful to experience, but adults need to use caution. If you consider that we are all too willing to put a sparkler which is burning at 1200 degrees in the hands of our child, one has to wonder about the sanity of it. I remember writing my name with using the sparkler and having all kinds of fun with it, but it seems a little less fun for me now that I have kids. Especially my oldest, who while not having an unkind bone in his body, doesn’t seem to realize that there might be others nearby.
Now a majority of burns that are treated are minor on the fourth, there is the potential for significant burns. Of those treated for burns about 25% are innocent bystanders, so it is important to make sure that even though you may just be enjoying a show, you still need to be wary and aware of your environment. There is a need to make sure that there is a safety zone.
Keep in mind that the CDC estimates that over half of the fireworks injury is in people less than 20 years old. While many of the injuries are minor, firework injuries can require skin grafts, can result in loss of eye or limb. So caution is warranted on this holiday. The risks for injury increase with the consumption of alcohol which is common with this holiday. The mixture of alcohol and fireworks could be potentially dangerous.
It is recommended that firework displays be left to the professionals. While it might not be as thrilling as holding a Roman Candle in your hand, it is preferable to having your hand blown off by the same Roman Candle. Many communities in an attempt to decrease the injury risk, and very real risk of fires have displays that are worth watching.
Whatever your plan for the fourth include at minimum use of good judgement is absolutely necessary. Don’t allow your children within the launching area, and if you are going to set off fireworks minimize the use of alcohol and other substances that might affect your judgement. The last thing you want on the fourth is a trip to a burn unit.