Living Well: Enjoy Fourth of July this year without fireworks-related injuries
Celebrating the Fourth of July should be a time that’s fun for the entire family, not a time spent in the emergency room.
The United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission recommends the following safety measures when using fireworks:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
MRH Medical Clinic, Rapid Care closed July 4
The Memorial Regional Health Medical Clinic and Rapid Care Clinic are closed on the Fourth of July, but the emergency room at the hospital is always open.
Fireworks — even the basic, relatively small-scale fireworks — must be handled with care. Even something as simple as a sparkler can be dangerous if not handled properly. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees, which is as hot as a blow torch and hot enough to melt some metals, according to the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC).
The safest way to celebrate Independence Day this year in Craig is to leave the fireworks behind and come out to enjoy the city’s Fourth of July Parade and Picnic (sponsored by VFW Auxiliary Post 4265 and American Legion Post 62).
Following the parade, join the community for a picnic with games for children, including a money pit and prizes. Bring your favorite dessert to share, and finally, enjoy the fire department’s fireworks show near Moffat County High School at dusk.
Children younger than 15 years old accounted for 36 percent of the estimated 9,100 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2018 — including 500 injuries associated with sparklers, 200 with bottle rockets and 1,000 with firecrackers.
Most fireworks injuries are due to misuse by users or malfunctions of fireworks. About 200 people visit the emergency room each day during the Fourth of July holiday week, according to the CPSC. The majority of injuries are burns and occur to the hands and fingers (28 percent), followed by legs (24 percent), eyes (19 percent), head, face and ears (15 percent), and arms (4 percent).
The emergency department at Memorial Regional Health warns parents to never spray their children with insect repellent or sunscreen, then hand them a sparkler or seat them beside a campfire. That’s because repellent and sunscreen are flammable and can result in severe burns.
Legal or not?
All fireworks that explode or leave the ground are illegal in Colorado. This includes firecrackers, rockets, roman candles, cherry bombs, mortars and similar items, according to the Colorado Legislative Council.
Permissible fireworks are non-explosive and not intended to leave the ground. They are small devices that produce audible or visual effects through combustion, according to the council.
Permissible fireworks in Colorado include toy propellants and smoke devices, trick noise makers, glow worms, snakes, sparklers and dipped sticks, illuminating torches and colored fire, ground spinners, wheels and cone fountains.
If you want to set off a few allowed fireworks, follow the guidelines in the factbox for safe handling.