The following was submitted by Danny Luna, injury prevention coordinator of the Family Safety Coalition at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.
Time to get the barbecues, pool toys and baseball bats out of the garage, because summer is officially here! Fourth of July is summer’s biggest highlight, with the warm weather, family events and fireworks, but the Fourth can often bring dangerous situations for children.
Fireworks, swimming, sunburns and hot barbecues can lead to anything from minor scrapes to severe injuries for children. Many of these injuries are preventable with simple safety steps that parents and family members can take to make the Fourth a safe holiday.
Before your family celebrates with a bang, make sure to keep fireworks safety in mind. If not handled correctly, fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in children and adults. The best way to avoid injuries is to attend public fireworks displays, but if you light fireworks at home, make sure it is legal in your city. Use these simple tips to help keep your holiday and home safe:
• Children should never play with fireworks. Even simple sparklers are dangerous. If you give your children sparklers, make sure they use them outside and keep them away from their face, hair and clothing.
• Use only legal fireworks, and never try to make your own. Certain explosives are banned in the United Sates for a reason…they aren’t safe.
• When it is time to use the fireworks, always go outside and have a bucket of water or hose handy in case of accidents.
• Don’t hold fireworks in your hand, wear eye protection and point fireworks away from homes to avoid injuries and fires.
• Light one firework at a time and don’t relight a dud.
• Children should not pick up pieces of a firework. Some may still be ignited and could explode on contact.
• Soak all fireworks in water before throwing them away.
Swimming is a great way to spend the Fourth, but parents should take the appropriate steps to make sure their children are swimming in a safe environment.
• Don’t let children swim unsupervised, especially children who don’t know how to swim.
• Make sure all adults planning to drink are drinking responsibly, while supervising children in the pool area or at the beach.
• Before swimming, don’t forget to apply sunscreen. Children need to wear waterproof sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher any time they are outside, especially while in the pool.
• Activities, like swimming and running, wear off sunscreen; reapplying is key to helping your child avoid sunburns.
Summer isn’t summer until the barbecues are out and the smell of hamburgers is in the air. Barbecues are very hot and can be dangerous with children around.
• Make sure children are at least three feet away from the grill area and never leave the grill alone, especially when children are present.
• Young children are often curious and don’t understand that hot objects can burn them.
• To avoid a trip to the emergency room on July 4th, always follow instructions and supervise your children when grilling.
Fireworks, swimming and barbecues are meant to be enjoyed, but make sure to keep your family safe. Take extra safety measures on the Fourth of July to ensure your holiday is a blast.