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Five (5) Tips for (1) Super and Safe 4th of July

POSTED BY: Brian Ware, DO

July represents a festive time for many families in the United States. Summer vacations are in full swing, the country is celebrating its independence, and people from all over come together to have a great time. Then on the 4th of July, we get to marvel at the beauty of firework displays across the country. In this segment, we aim to take a quick break from the festivities and focus a moment of our time on firework safety.
As entertaining as they may be, fireworks can pose a threat to those who are uninformed on the safe handling of these powerful toys. Not only are they explosive, but the heat generated from many of the fireworks approved for home use can start fires and cause third degree burns. Did you know that the heat from a simple sparkler can reach temperatures of up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit?
Firework safety is simple if you follow this helpful guide shared by Brian Ware, DO, resident at the Center for Family Care at Florida Hospital East Orlando:
1. Attend a public display. Instead of personal firework displays, consider instead to attend a public display. This leaves the risks up to the professionals! Plus most public firework displays are free, and they provide a much bigger “bang” than you can create at home.
2. Exercise caution with sparklers. Children have short arms and are vulnerable to burns. Some sparklers give off enough heat to melt glass! If you add in running around and swinging your arms, this provides for a dangerous combination. Glow sticks are a safe alternative because they do not give off any heat. If you do decide to use sparklers, your children should be under close supervision.
3. Follow safety guidelines. Fireworks will come with safety guidelines on how to safely use their product. Never use fireworks indoors, near a dry wooded area, or near flammable substances. Never point fireworks toward people or homes. Observe from the safe distance recommended on the package. 
4. Avoid overstocking. Many people can be lured into discount prices on bulk products at firework tents. Excess fireworks are often stored away until the next celebration. Firework accidents that occur after the 4th of July are often due to children getting into the left over supply that was unsupervised during down-times in the year. 
5. Always have a plan. In the event that the unexpected occurs, it is always best to be prepared. Keeping First Aid kits handy is essential. It is also important to keep a fire extinguisher, hose or water bucket readily available. Any children with eye burns or severe skin burns should be immediately transported to the local Emergency Center. Notify authorities immediately of any fires.