The summer months are a time when families enjoy a variety of activities outdoors; however, it’s also when fireworks cause devastating residential fires and serious injuries to children. According to the United States Fire Administration, fireworks injure nearly 9,000 people annually. Children younger than 15 years old account for 39 percent of the estimated fireworks injuries, which include serious burns. In 2009, 67 percent of fireworks injuries occurred between June 19 and July 19.
The National Fire Protection Agency reports that sparklers, which typically are viewed by parents as relatively harmless fireworks for children, cause serious burn injuries, accounting for one-third of the injuries to children age 5 and younger.
Safe Kids USA urges parents to practice these safety tips recommended by the United States Fire administration to reduce the risk of a residential fire or a trip to the emergency room and ensure this summer is a safe one for your family.
- The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays hosted by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
- If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
For more information about summer fire safety, visit www.safekids.org.
~ Lisa Klindt Simpson, coordinator, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin