Safety First This Fourth of July

Safety First This Fourth of July

By: #TakeTime4U

June 13, 2018

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peeps enjoying a holiday picnic

Many families have their own Independence Day traditions. Safety should be the common thread running through them all.

Think of the Fourth of July, and some of the first images that likely come to mind are of fireworks lighting up the warm night sky with brilliant bursts and flashes of color. Every year, however, too many families spend part of the holiday seeking emergency care for fireworks-related injuries, mainly burns. Most of the injured are children and teenagers, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Use these seven steps to keep your children safe around fireworks:

  1. Follow the law. Certain types of fireworks are legal in Indiana, but the law prohibits their use by children without adult supervision.
  2. Have adults do the lighting. Allow only responsible adults to ignite fireworks while children stand a safe distance away.
  3. Pay attention to location. Before setting off fireworks, make sure they’re pointed away from trees, structures, power lines and people. Only light them one at a time. When fireworks go out, don’t try to relight them—douse them with water and dispose of them.
  4. Send sparklers packing. These fireworks may look like fun, but they can reach blowtorch-level temperatures, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and may cause severe injury. Don’t use them.
  5. Prepare for the unexpected. Keep a bucket of water, fire extinguisher, and first aid kit handy, just in case.
  6. Go public. Start a new tradition—and eliminate the risks of a backyard fireworks display—by attending a show in your community where professionals handle the pyrotechnics.

Safety Beyond the Boom

The Fourth of July is about much more than fireworks, so injury prevention should extend to other favorite holiday activities. Follow these tips to safeguard your children from backyard to the beach:

  • Cover your little ones in protection. Whether they’re picnicking or playing a ball game, your children need protection from the sun and biting insects. Avoid direct sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Babies under 6 months of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Children 6 months old and older should have their exposed skin covered in a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Ensure they wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses as well. After applying sunscreen, apply insect repellent containing no more than 30 percent DEET to your children’s clothing and exposed skin, and don’t forget to reapply both every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Talk to your pediatrician if you are unsure of how to protect your little ones.
  • Enforce a no-go zone around the grill. If have a cookout, keep your children at least three feet away from the grill when it’s in use.
  • Gear up before swimming. Outfit each of your children with a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at the pool, lake or beach, and always watch them closely when they’re in the water.
  • Keep an eye (and ear) on the skies. If you hear thunder, even if the sound is faint, get your children inside and don’t allow them back out until 30 minutes after the final thunderclap. Lightning can strike up to 25 miles afield from its storm of origin, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Children’s health care doesn’t take a holiday. St. Vincent Neighborhood Hospital is always available if your children need swift medical attention, including on the Fourth of July. Visit www.stvincentneighborhoodhospital.org for more information.

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