How to use fireworks safely around children

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - The countdown is on for the Fourth of July and that means fireworks are flying off the shelves. But every year, nearly 10,000 people are injured because of fireworks, most of them young children.

We know that sparklers are always a favorite on the Fourth of July and while they may look fun, they are the most common source of fireworks injuries to the eyes, hands and fingers.

Kelsey-Seybold Pediatrician Dr. Debra Cutler told Local 2, "The temperature on these sparklers can get up to 1800 degrees. They can melt gold. So when kids hold them, they need to be six feet from each other. They need to hold them at arms length, not running with them, not throwing them."

The worst culprits when it comes to injuries following sparklers include reloadable shells, firecrackers and roman candles.

One in six fireworks-related injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness, so experts say wear eye protection, never let small children handle fireworks and always be sure there's adult supervision.

Dr. Cutler advised, "Do them out in the open. You don't want to do it under a tree. You don't want to do it in a carport. Never point anything at the house and as a pet lover, I like to say make sure you have your pets inside because dogs get really nervous about fireworks."

If a burn injury does occur, Dr. Joseph Allen, medical Director of the Texas Children's Hospital West Campus Emergency Center said, "Withhold putting many of the home remedies such as butter, mayonnaise, any type of food product."

Dr. Allen said a first degree burn may leave the skin red, almost like a sunburn. He explained, "This type of injury can be treated quickly by the family with some Tylenol, acetaminophen or Motrin, accompanied by a small amount of a topical antibiotic."

For more severe burns or eye injuries, doctors say call 911 and get emergency treatment immediately.

Remember, it's been very hot and dry in our area. So if you are using fireworks, always have a bucket of water and a hose nearby and soak all the fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away.

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