Independence Day – At Home

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Burned hands and fingers are the most common injury from fireworks. Please play safely!

Families may not be spending much time watching huge fireworks displays this year, and let’s face it, TV displays just can’t capture the thrill of live viewing. That means some families will opt to throw their own shows at home, and if your family is one of them, experts say put safety first.

“Even sparklers, which may seem child friendly, are actually quite dangerous,” says Wendy Pomerantz at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. “The tip of a sparkler can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, capable of producing a third-degree burn. Glow sticks are a much safer option,” she adds.

If an accident does happen, any injury that involves the eyes, head, limbs, or smoke inhalation demands that you call 911. Pomerantz also has suggestions or at-home care of minor burns:

TREATING MINOR BURNS

  • Remove all clothing that is burned to prevent further damage to the skin
  • Soak a towel in cool water and apply directly to the affected area (or soak the skin in cool water)
  • Avoid ice; it can actually damage the skin more
  • Remove the roof of larger blisters to prevent infection
  • Clean the burn gently with soap and water
  • Apply moisturizer to superficial burns
  • Treat with triple antibiotic ointment for burns with blisters or deeper, and follow up with a non-adhesive sterile dressing or bandage
  • Use ibuprofen or acetaminophen for any pain

FIREWORKS SAFETY FOR ALL

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper — these are usually used for professional displays and are not meant to be used at home.
  • Always have adult supervision during fireworks activities.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting.
  • Immediately back away to a safe distance after fireworks are lit.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose close by in case of fire or accident.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
    Learn more at cpsc.gov.

Sparkler Safety

  • Always supervise children using sparklers • Don’t give a sparkler to a child under age 5
  • Show children how to hold the sparkler away from the body
  • Never hold a sparkler with a baby in your arms
  • Keep long hair tied back
  • Use sparklers outdoors only
  • Plunge spent sparklers into a bucket of water

Amanda Hayward is editor of this publication. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio, a military wife and mom of two. If you don't see her writing for Cincinnati Family, you'll find her running, juggling kids, teaching group fitness classes and cooking up healthy recipes.

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