COLUMBIA — The Fourth of July is a time for celebration across the country, and here in South Carolina - fireworks are a crowd favorite each year. While fireworks can be fun to watch, they can also be very dangerous.
The United States Fire Administration reminds us that kids should never play with fireworks or sparklers. Sparklers can reach 2,000° Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt some metals. Do not allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
In 2009, an estimated 3,432 children ages 15 and under had injuries involving fireworks with most of these injuries occurring from the middle of June until the middle of July. Children and teenagers are the most likely people to be injured as a result of consumer fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 40 percent of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15. “We are encouraging families to “Put Safety In Play During the Fourth of July.” That means keep the 2000 degree sparklers out of the hands of children, and create a safety zone if you are going to ignite firecrackers or aerials,” says the commission’s Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. “Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency. Also teach them what to do if their clothing catches on fire — ‘stop, drop and roll,’” adds Vaughn.
According to South Carolina State Fire Marshall’s office it is illegal to sell fireworks to any person under the age of 14, unless they are accompanied by an adult. Fireworks should be handled and used in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and all warning labels.
“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them,” says Heidi Vaughn, Safe Kids South Carolina director. “For those who use fireworks in their backyards, never allow children of any age to use them without an adult present,” says Vaughn.
For more information about fireworks safety and burn prevention, contact 803.744.4029 or visit http://scchildren.org/programs/8/
About Safe Kids South Carolina
Safe Kids South Carolina works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Its members include 13 coalitions in the state. Safe Kids South Carolina is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids South Carolina was founded in 1994 and is led by The Children’s Trust of South Carolina.