School’s out and the much anticipated summertime is a magical season for children. Lifelong memories are created during these exhilarating, sundrenched months — cookouts, bonfires, and firework packed 4th of July festivities are anticipated events. But activities involving fire and fireworks can be dangerous. How can parents keep their kiddos safe? Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld, Public Information Officer of Toledo Fire and Rescue, and Dr. Daniel Neumeyer, DO, of Mercy Emergency Facilities in Perrysburg, Sylvania, Defiance, and Mercy St. Vincent’s, suggested some great guidelines for keeping summer celebrations safe.
Fire Preparedness Steps
Nothing puts an end to a child’s fun faster than a trip to the ER. According to Dr. Neumeyer, burn injuries in children are more common in the summer than any other time of year, and he urges parents to use common sense. “Teaching your children about appropriate care and use of outdoor fires is important. Keep a safe distance from flames.”
Parents should not to leave a child unattended near a fire, grill, or fireworks. Additional precautions can be taken, such as storing flammables out of reach, keeping a plentiful source of water nearby, and teaching older kids to throw sand or dirt on a fire (with a shovel) to put it out.
Are Home Fireworks: Worth the Risk?
Lt. Hertzfeld advises, “We don’t recommend that people buy or use home fireworks. Even with legal devices, injury can occur; sparklers are legal but can be very dangerous, and should be used under adult supervision. The heat from a sparkler approaches 1000 degrees, and can cause serious damage to a child’s skin very rapidly. The best way to protect your children is not to use home fireworks.”
Dr. Neumeyer adds, “Causes of burns are usually from mishandling the fireworks or holding on to them for too long. Most burns occur around the face and hands. All of these injuries are preventable for the most part. Use safety glasses and gloves. Long sleeves and pants aren’t a bad idea either.”
Have an Emergency Action Plan
Even when extra care is taken, accidents involving fire and fireworks do occur, so be prepared with an action plan. “Stop the burning as quickly as you can. Don’t run around. Stop, drop, and roll if clothes catch on fire. Call 911.” Lt. Hertzfeld guides.
Proper treatment is essential. “If the burn is minor, usually a nonadherent bandage is appropriate with bacitracin ointment. If it’s larger, seeking medical attention is a good idea.
Burns to the face and hands should generally be evaluated by a medical professional. If a burn wraps all the way around a part of your body…then it needs to be seen by a medical professional,” Dr. Neumeyer recommends. He suggests parents have a fire extinguisher and cool compresses on hand, as well as a cell phone and a car to get help if necessary.
Being prepared and playing it safe will go a long way to keeping your family’s summer carefree and fun-filled.