Keep Kids Safe This Independence Day
July 2, 2010
LANSING - This Fourth of July, fireworks will be the centerpiece of many celebrations. Although extremely popular, fireworks pose a serious risk, especially to young children.
Of the more than 4,000 fireworks-related injuries to children under 14 each year, the majority occur in the month surrounding the Fourth of July, with older kids (typically 10- to 14-year-olds) suffering the most injuries. Sparklers (often considered the safest fireworks), rockets and firecrackers are responsible for the bulk of fireworks-related injuries.
"Parents and caregivers must be aware of the danger associated with fireworks," said Janet Olszewski, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. "We want families to have safe holiday celebrations and to remember that fireworks are not toys and can have devastating consequences, including injuries to the hands, eyes, or head that could result in amputations, blindness, or even death."
Safe Kids Michigan, whose lead agency is the Michigan Department of Community Health, offers the following fireworks safety tips to help ensure that Fourth of July festivities are enjoyable and safe:
- Only adults should handle fireworks. Tell children that they should leave the area immediately and inform an adult if their friends are using fireworks.
- Discuss safety procedures with your children. Teach children to "stop, drop and roll" if their clothes catch fire. Make sure they know how to call 9-1-1. Show them how to put out fireworks with water or a fire extinguisher.
- Read labels and carefully follow directions. All fireworks must carry warning labels describing necessary safety precautions. Following the directions greatly minimizes the risk of injury.
- Never use fireworks indoors.
- Be sure spectators are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.
- Never place your face or any other body part over fireworks.
- Never try to reignite fireworks that malfunction.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Light fireworks only on smooth, flat surfaces, away from houses, dry leaves and other flammable materials.
Safe Kids Michigan is part of The National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the first and only national organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury - the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. More than 300 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, comprise the campaign. For more information on fireworks safety, visit www.usa.safekids.org and click on media center and then click on Seasonal Safety.