Ochsner Urges Fireworks Safety
American flags, apple pie, Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest and fireworks. These are all things largely associated with one of our favorite holidays – Independence Day. Sadly, there is another important association with July 4th – busy hospital emergency rooms (ER).
Many people consider fireworks to be harmless fun, when in fact they can be extremely dangerous, especially when used near children and teens.
“When it comes to fireworks, remember they are explosives that require proper handling,” said Ochsner primary care physician Asghar Naqvi, M.D., MPH, MNS (4845 Main St., Ste. D, Zachary).
More than 11,000 people went to the ER in 2016 with injuries from fireworks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Children under 15 represented nearly one-third of these injuries. A large majority of these injuries were burns involving people's hands and fingers.
“Don’t give children sparklers. Although sparklers may seem safe, they can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is as hot as a blowtorch.” It is estimated that there were 900 fireworks related injuries from sparklers in 2016 and 400 of those injuries occurred in children under five-years old.
“Viewing public fireworks displays handled by professionals is the safest way to enjoy fireworks.”
If fireworks are legal in your area and you are putting on your own fireworks display, follow these do's and don'ts to stay safe:
- Have knowledgeable supervision by an experienced adult.
- Buy fireworks from reputable dealers.
- Read fireworks labels and follow directions carefully.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby.
- Light fireworks one at a time and move back quickly.
- Discard fireworks as directed.
- Never allow young children to use fireworks, including sparklers.
- Don't consume alcohol when using fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near other objects.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person, ever.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that fail to ignite.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
In case of injury, seek immediate medical care. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an Ochsner practitioner, call 225-761-5200 or visit www.Ochsner.org/info to schedule online.