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Safely Light Up Your July 4th

Silver Cross Hospital Offers Fireworks Safety Tips to Avoid Harmful Injuries

Joliet, IL (June 28, 2012) — Steamy temperatures, hot dogs sizzling on the grill, flags adorn with red, white, and blue, and of course, fireworks -- are all the makings of any good Independence Day celebration. From sparklers to multi-colored fountains, the Fourth of July holiday is one of the few times a year that Americans get the urge to light fireworks.

fireworksWhile this may be entertaining, setting off fireworks isn't exactly the safest way to celebrate our independence -- and in some cases it's even illegal. Even though there are many states that allow some type of fireworks, there are restrictions at the county level and city level. It’s important to check with your local fire department to clarify the law in your town.

So this year if you’re laws permit, before you light up that firecracker, be sure to learn some fireworks safety tips to help bring in Independence Day with a bang, and without injury.

“Since more fireworks are used on and around the Fourth of July than in any other celebration, there is a larger concentration of injuries during this time,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., Medical Director for the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center in Homer Glen.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (FEMA), in 2010 U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries. Of these injuries:

  • 65 percent were to males and 35 percent were to females.
  • an estimated 900 injuries were associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 30 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 17 percent with illegal firecrackers, and 53 percent where the type of firecracker was not specified.
  • an estimated 1,200 injuries were associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.

 

“The hands, fingers, eyes, and head and face are most frequently injured, and more than half of these injuries are burns,” says Dr. Checco.  FEMA’s numbers confirm the types of injuries that Dr. Checco has seen while working in the Emergency Room. In 2010, the parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (30 percent), legs (22 percent), eyes (21 percent), and head, face, and ears (16 percent).

Kids and Fireworks

While kids are the most likely to get hurt, for parents, this means that you should never leave your children alone with fireworks -- even fireworks such as sparklers, since 50% of sparkler injuries happen to children under the age of five, according to FEMA. In addition, children under 15 years old accounted for 40 percent of the estimated overall fireworks-related injuries.

Safety Tips

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety, follow these tips to safely celebrate your independence:

  • Do not drink alcohol and set off fireworks.
  • Always follow label directions on all fireworks to properly use them.
  • Have an adult present when using fireworks; never give fireworks to small children, and never leave older kids unsupervised with fireworks.
  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket), and when you're finished with sparklers and other fireworks, soak them so you know they're out.
  • Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • The shooter should always wear eye protection and not have their body over the firework.

 

Finally, what's the safest way to spend your Fourth of July?

“It's really a lot safer to go to a professional show at one of the many area park districts,” says Dr. Checco. “By letting trained experts light the fireworks, all you have to do is sit there and enjoy the show.”

About the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center

The Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center is located at 143rd St. and Bell Rd in Homer Glen and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Center is staffed with Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses. Patients can check ER wait times—if any at www.silvercross.org for both the Homer Glen Free-Standing Emergency Care Center as well as Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

In the same building, Silver Cross also offers MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound EKG and laboratory services. And there are several physician offices including a pediatrician, podiatrist, spine surgeon, urologists, cardiologists, and family practice physicians. For more information, call (708) 364-6337.

About Silver Cross Hospital

Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,900 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices and recently opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

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