Brilliant-colored fireworks, backyard barbecues and hanging out with loved ones around a campfire are all Fourth of July celebration staples. Unfortunately, with these fun events come serious risks for injury.
Burns are a common cause of injury during the summer months and especially in July. Every year, 13,000 people nationwide find themselves in the emergency room as a result of firework-related injuries, often leaving permanent damage to eyes, hands and the face. Thus, the improper use of fireworks can quickly turn a celebration into tragedy.
“We want everyone to have a wonderful Fourth of July spending time with family and friends. However, remember that fireworks can cause life-changing injuries. It is best to leave the firework show to the professionals,” says Nicole Knepper, trauma and burn education and prevention coordinator at Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center. “Please remember to celebrate safely and responsibly. Don’t let an unfortunate accident ruin your holiday celebration.”
Here are a few more tips to help you stay safe during your celebrations this year.
Additional fireworks safety tips
- Don’t allow children to handle fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, that is hotter than a blow torch!
- Have a designated, sober adult light all legal fireworks.
- Never hold a lit firework in your hand or point/throw a lit firework at anyone.
- Keep children and other observers at a safe distance and behind a protective barrier.
- Keep a bucket of water close by for disposal of fireworks.
- Consider safer alternatives such as glow sticks or confetti poppers.
- Observe all local and state laws.
Grilling safety tips
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- Grills should be used away from the house, deck railings as well as out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Use caution when using starter fluid, only use charcoal starter fluid and never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid away from children and heat sources.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing them in a metal container.
Campfire safety tips
- Watch children while fire is burning. Never let children and pets play or stand too close to the fire.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Keep a campfire small and easy to control.
- NEVER use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids on a campfire.
- Always have a hose, bucket of water or shovel and dirt/sand nearby to put the fire out.
- If your clothes catch on fire, cover your face and stop, drop and roll until the fire is out.
- Treat any burns right away. Cool the burn with cool water for three to five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth and get medical help if needed.
Learn about all the health care services we offer at Mercy Health.