The Florida Department of Heath and Safe Kids Florida encourage safety awareness during the Fourth of July. Each year within the United States, more than 4,000 children under age 15 are treated in emergency rooms for injuries involving fireworks. As families throughout Florida prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, parents should take precautionary measures with children and fireworks. Children ages 5 to 9 have the highest rate of injury from fireworks.
"Never allow children to play with fireworks," State Surgeon General Ana M. Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H. said. "Fireworks are intended for adult use in open spaces, with plenty of active supervision for every child present."
Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns, as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. Teach children to "stop, drop and roll" if their clothing catches on fire and how to call 911 in an emergency.
Where permitted by law, fireworks should be handled and used in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and all warning labels.
Use these precautions for adults handling fireworks:
· Only light fireworks on smooth, flat surfaces and aim them away from buildings, dry leaves, flammable materials and spectators.
· Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction.
· Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or hold them close to your face.
· Visit www.recalls.gov to ensure the fireworks you are using are not subject to any safety recalls. Do not modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.
· Keep a phone handy, and know first aid for burns. Also, keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it.
Finally, as with any activity involving hazardous equipment, keep all children under active supervision when they are near fireworks. Keep children in sight and within reach at all times, with your undivided attention focused on them. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them.
DOH promotes, protects and improves the health of all people in Florida. For more information about DOH programs, visit www.doh.state.fl.us. To learn more about the Safe Kids Worldwide Campaign, visit www.safekids.org.