OHSU

Keep An Eye On Children, Teens Around Fireworks

06/30/06  Portland, Ore.

Doernbecher Children's Safety Center encourages families to take some simple precautions

Family cookouts, parades and fireworks are hallmarks of summer, especially on the Fourth of July. The Doernbecher Children's Safety Center at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Oregon Health & Science University, encourages families to eliminate the risk of fireworks-related injuries by choosing to attend a professional fireworks display with friends and family rather than light fireworks at home.

"The safest way to enjoy the Fourth of July is to let the professionals put on the fireworks show, but if you do choose to use fireworks at home, take precautions to prevent injuries," said Dana Hargunani, M.D., medical director, Doernbecher Children's Safety Center, and assistant professor of pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine.

Last year, some 9,600 children and adults sustained injuries on the Fourth of July that required a trip to the hospital, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Thirty percent of those injuries were caused by illegal explosives and homemade fireworks. The Doernbecher Children's Safety Center offers the following tips to help keep the celebration safe this Fourth of July:

    Be prepared:
*    Use only legal fireworks from licensed outlets.
*    Read and following label instructions.
*    Have a bucket of water or hose nearby to extinguish misfired and used fireworks.
    Be safe:
*    Use fireworks on outdoor paved surfaces far away from buildings, cars and shrubs.
*    Avoid aiming fireworks at buildings, cars, people or pets
*    Never alter fireworks or make your own, and never pick up or try to re-light a "dud."
   Be responsible :
*    Only adults should handle fireworks
*    Closely supervise any children or teens who are present when fireworks are being used.
*    Store fireworks lighters and matches out of reach of children.
*    Dispose of used fireworks in metal containers or douse them with water.

Doernbecher Children's Safety Center is dedicated to reducing unintentional injuries in children and families through education and distribution of safety products. For more information, call 503 418-5666 or send an e-mail to safety@ohsu.edu.

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