Fireworks send 3,000 children under the age of 15 to the emergency room each year in the United States. With the Fourth of July just three days away, it is important to remember that children under the age of 16 are prohibited by North Carolina law to buy or use fireworks. Even sparklers, which are commonly thought of as harmless, burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and account for one-third of burn injuries in children under five. The best way to ensure your family’s safety and avoid burn injuries this Fourth of July is to not use any fireworks at home and go enjoy the public fireworks display put on by professionals.
Although it is strongly discouraged, for those that plan on using fireworks at home or at a Fourth of July gathering this year, it is extremely important to keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Make sure the fireworks you are using are legal in your area.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass or brush.
- Do not give children sparklers and supervise children closely at all times during a fireworks display.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby.
- Do not wear loose clothing while lighting fireworks and stand several feet away after lighting them.
In the instance of a firework or burn injury, call 911 immediately. Cone Health Trauma Services are dedicated to providing exceptional emergency medical treatment to individuals throughout the area who have endured severe trauma.
Leigha Shepler is the injury prevention coordinator for the trauma department at Cone Health. She also manages the activities of Safe Guilford, the injury prevention coalition for Guilford County, and provides outreach and education on child passenger, bike and pedestrian safety, and fall prevention for older adults. Shepler received a Master of Science in Health Promotion from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2001 and has been in her current position for seven years.