Wellness Wednesday: Fireworks Safety

Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks—devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.

Firework Background - 4th July Independence day celebrationFireworks are no joke. They are not toys and should not be handled by children or even by untrained adults. However, if you (adults) are determined to use fireworks, you must put your safety and the safety of those around you above all else.

Fireworks by the numbers

  • Fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,900 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2015
  • An estimated 8,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the one-month period between June 19 and July 19, 2015.
  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 26 percent of the estimated 2015 injuries. Forty-two percent of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age. (Note that this means more than half of injuries were to adults over the age of 21!)
  • There were an estimated 1,900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 800 with bottle rockets.

Ignited sparkler with the American flag in the backgroundFollow these safety tips

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Fireworks and pets

 

july-4-dog
Click to enlarge

More pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year. The days surrounding the holiday are the busiest at shelters because many pets get scared of the loud noises and strange burning smells and run off. Also, the additional people at holiday barbecues, leaving open doors and/or gates, can contribute. Even indoor cats who have never run off can go missing.

 

So pay close attention to your pets. Be sure you check all gates and doors throughout the day. Don′t allow your pets near any fireworks, candles or foods they shouldn′t eat. And always have a safe place for them to retreat, away from the noise.

Alternatives to fireworks

4th-of-July-Confetti-PoppersThere are other ways to celebrate the 4th of July. If you don′t have to stay home, enjoy a public display put on by professionals. If you are hosting a party or invited to one, here are some fun, child-friendly ideas:

  • Piñatas … You can purchase or make your own colorful paper-mache piñatas, filled with red, white and blue confetti and candy!
  • Confetti-filled balloons … fill balloons with red, white and blue confetti and let the kids pop them.
  • Glow in the dark toys and bubbles … great for after dark with no worry about fire.
  • Confetti poppers … again, incorporates the red, white and blue colorful display with a popping noise.
  • Noisemakers … always a hit!

Conclusion

Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths. By spreading the word and practicing safety at your next holiday barbecues.

Sources: National Council on Fireworks Safety, Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Fire Protection Association, Petfinder, Safe Kids and Protect America.


More Information:

Fireworks Safety Tips [PDF]

Fireworks Fact Sheet [PDF]

4th of July Piñata Balloons

4th of July Flag Balloon Game

DIY Confetti Poppers

 

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Wellness Wednesday: Keeping Children Safe in the Car

“Right Seat. Right Time. Right Use”

Installing child safety chair on back seat of the carThe week of September 18-24, 2016 is Child Passenger Safety Week. Every parent wants to protect their children and keep them safe. The best way to protect children in a car is to secure them in the right seat, at the right time, and to use it the right way.

The just-released NHTSA 2015 National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats shows 37.4 percent of children ages 4 to 7 in the U.S. were not being properly restrained. Of that number, 25.8 percent were restrained by seat belts and 11.6 percent were unrestrained completely. 13.6 percent of children from 1 to 3 years old were prematurely transitioned to booster seats, a significant increase from the prior year.


In 2015, there were 35,092 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. That’s 2,348 more fatalities than the 32,744 in 2014. This 7.2 percent increase is the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years.


Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Seat Belt Numbers

  • In 2015, there were 127,127 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. These crashes claimed the lives of 1,200 people and injured another 80,004 people.
  • On average in Pennsylvania:
    • Each day 348 reportable traffic crashes occurred—about 15 crashes every hour.
    • Each day 225 persons were injured in reportable crashes—about 9 injuries every hour.
  • In every age group, male drivers are involved in more crashes than female drivers. Male drivers ages 21-25 were involved in more crashes than drivers in any other age group (male or female).
  • In 2015, more crashes occurred in daylight than all other light levels combined. And the vast majority occurred under no adverse conditions (i.e., rain, snow, fog, etc.).
  • The combination of lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduces the risk of fatal injuries to front seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50%.
  • Pennsylvania seat belt usage rate was 79.4% in 2015. National statistics show that for every one percent increase in seat belt usage, 8 to 12 lives can be saved on the highways.
  • Research shows that children are likely to be buckled 92% of the time when adults are buckled and only 72% of the time when adults are not buckled. Everyone should buckle up, every time!
  • All passengers should wear a seat belt whenever riding in a motor vehicle—even for short distances. Three out of four crashes occur within 25 miles of home.
  • From 2011-2015, 82% of the children under age 4 who were involved in crashes and restrained in a child seat sustained no injury.

(Source: 2015 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics)

Child Safety Seats Statistics

Happy baby girl in a car seat

  • Motor vehicle traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for children age 4 and the second leading cause of death for children age 3 and every age 5 through 14 in 2013.
  • Every 33 seconds a child under age 13 is involved in a crash.
  • NHTSA estimates that correctly used child restraints are even more effective than seat belts in reducing fatalities. Child restraints reduce fatalities by 71% for infants younger than one year old and by 54% for children 1 to 4 years old in passenger cars.
  • Among children younger than age 5, an estimated 252 lives were saved in 2014 by restraint use. At 100% child safety seat use for those under 5 years old, an additional 37 could have been saved in 2014.
  • Booster seat use among 4- to 7-year-old children was 44.5% in 2015. The appropriate restraint system for 4- to 7-year-old children is either a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat, depending on the child’s height and weight.
  • Restraint use among children 8 to 12 years old whose height is between 37 to 53 inches decreased significantly to 83.4% in 2015 from 90% in 2013.

 (Source: NHTSA)


Area Car Seat Safety Checks

csa_2015_29Saturday, September 24 is National Seat Check Saturday. Parents can bring their children and infant car seats to the following area locations over the next few days to be checked and shown how to properly install them.


Chester County:

September 22, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

West Goshen Police Department
1025 Paoli Pike, West Chester, PA 19380

Appointment Required: For an appointment, call Charlie Vilotti at 610.906.2711 or email cvilotti@chesco.org.

September 24, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kelly Chevrolet
600 Nutt Road, Route 23, Phoenixville, PA 19460
For an appointment, call Charlie Vilotti at 610.906.2711 or email cvilotti@chesco.org. Walk-Ins welcome.


Delaware County:

September 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trooper Greene, 484.840.1000
PA State Police – Media
1342 W. Baltimore Pike, Media, PA 19063


Montgomery County:

September 22, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

SEPA Safe Kids
Battalion 1 Fire Station
325 Stump Road, Montgomeryville, PA 18936
Appointment Required: Schedule online at www.chop.edu/kohlschildsafety

September 24, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trooper Wright, 610.584.2832
Upper Frederick Township Building
3205 Big Road, Obelisk, PA 19492


Philadelphia County:

September 24, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

SEPA Safe Kids
AAA Car Care Insurance & Travel Center
1601 S. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Appointment Required: Schedule online at www.chop.edu/kohlschildsafety


For more information:

Pennsylvania’s Child Passenger Protection Laws

How to Find the Right Car Seat

www.pakidstravelsafe.org/car-seats