Fireworks are almost synonymous with the Fourth of July holiday.‑ That’s why state health officials are urging Hoosiers to observe some important safety tips, as they gather with family and friends to display their patriotism.
Last year, 261 cases of fireworks injuries in Indiana were reported to the State Department of Health.‑ Eleven percent of the injured persons required either hospital admission or specialized care for burns or eye injuries.
“What is especially troubling about these injuries is the disproportionate share of young children and adolescents who were affected,” said Charlene Graves, M.D., Medical Director for the Indiana State Department of Health’s Injury Prevention Program.
Legislation passed in 2003 by the Indiana General Assembly requires physicians, hospitals, and outpatient surgery centers to report all injuries resulting from fireworks or pyrotechnics to the State Department of Health.‑‑
According to the 2003 Fireworks Injury Report, 53 percent of all fireworks-related injuries involved children and adolescents, who represent a fourth of the population of Indiana.
“Parents should know that one of the most frequent injuries is burns to the hands, which are often caused by sparklers,” Dr. Graves said.‑ “Sparklers, rockets and firecrackers were associated with 63 percent of all injuries reported in 2003. ”
The 2003 Fireworks Injury Report showed that fireworks used on private property accounted for more than 80 percent of the injuries reported.‑ About one out of five of all injuries reported involved the eyes, with 82 percent of those with eye injuries not using any method of eye protection.
“Fireworks injuries are often severe.‑ Injuries to the eyes, for instance, can even cause blindness,” Dr. Graves said.‑ “It is important to remember, though, that most fireworks injuries can be prevented.”
Graves says that the best way to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a public fireworks display rather than buying fireworks for personal use.‑ But she says that if people insist on using fireworks at home, they should follow these safety tips:
*Don’t allow young children to play with fireworks.
*Closely supervise older children who are permitted to use fireworks.
*Don’t allow any boisterous play while fireworks are being used.
*Always wear eye protection when lighting or using any fireworks.
*Before using any fireworks, read and follow all warning instructions.
*Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from flammable materials and houses.
*Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for dousing fireworks that don’t go off.
*Don’t try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.‑ Instead, soak them with water and throw them away.
*Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
*Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one made of glass or metal.
*Store fireworks in a dry, cool place, according to the instructions.