July is a great time of year. A patriotic holiday, family barbecues and watching beautiful firework displays. But this is also a dangerous time of year because of those fireworks. The vast majority of injuries are burns, mostly to the hands, fingers, head, face, eyes and ears. Many people will celebrate at family-sized gatherings and shoot off purchased firecrackers of all sizes.
Though sparklers and firecrackers seem innocent enough, they account for almost 40 percent of all fireworks-related accidents. In contrast, people that attend community firework celebrations make up only four percent of Fourth of July injuries each year. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 34 percent of people hurt will be between the ages of 25-44 and most will be males who handle firecrackers, sparklers, bottle rockets, novelty devices, Roman candles and reloadable shells.
As July goes on, many people will be at risk of burns when they camp, barbeque at home, get severely sunburned and even suffer chemical burns in highly chlorinated swimming pools.
Neighbors Emergency Center wants this part of summer to be a safe time for all of your celebrations. Here are some burn safety tips to keep in mind throughout the hot days ahead.
- Light all fireworks away from people, homes and flammable surfaces.
- Children should always be supervised when fireworks are present. As mesmerizing as sparklers are for kiddos, adult supervision is necessary.
- Avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket. They can be set off with the slightest friction.
- Keep youngsters away from picking up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and could explode.
- Have water close by and soak all fireworks in water before throwing them in the trash can.
- Wear short sleeves or roll them up when cooking on a grill.
- Use long-handled barbecue tools.
- Keep a 3-foot safety zone around the grill when in use.
- Keep the campfire away from tents, tablecloths on picnic tables and other combustible materials.
- Build the campfire downwind and in fire rings or fire pits if available.
- Properly extinguish the campfire before turning in for the night, breaking camp or anytime it will be unattended.
- Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin before you go out in the sun. Reapply every two hours.
- Reapply often when swimming or playing sports that cause sweat to wash sunscreen away.
- Limit time in direct sunlight to avoid burning your skin.
Pool chemical burns
- Many caustic chemicals, including chlorine used to treat swimming pool water, can cause chemical burns if they come into contact with skin.
- Keep all chlorine and other chemicals used to keep swimming water clean stored under lock and key when not in use.
Always err on the side of caution and seek medical care for any burn, regardless of its depth or size. Burns are progressive injuries that will worsen over a 24 hour period after the initial injury. For serious burns from fireworks, an electrical burn, a chemical burn or if the burn is on the face, hands, feet, genitals or a major joint area—seek immediate medical attention. Our board-certified physicians and experienced medical staff is ready 24/7 to help you with your medical emergency.
There are 22 Neighbors Emergency Center locations in Texas. Each is staffed with dedicated professionals, on-site imaging of CT scan, Ultrasound and X-ray as well as a laboratory to be of service in your time of need. We hope you have a wonderful celebration and if you need us, we will be your best Neighbors ever.