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Keep kids safe this Fourth of July
Every year, sparklers cause the most injuries to children five years old and younger, joining firecrackers and rockets as the fireworks that cause the majority of injuries needing emergency room treatment.

La Grange– Physicians and other emergency department staff at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital are encouraging families to have a happy and safe Fourth of July by taking care to avoid injuries resulting from the misuse of fireworks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of a fireworks-related injury is two-and-a-half times as high for children ages five to nine and teens ages 15 to 19 as for the general population, with thousands of adults and kids suffering from these injuries every Fourth of July.

“Children are attracted to the bright, colorful lights of fireworks, but they can’t fully understand the dangers that are associated with them,” said Dr. Geoff Crabb, assistant medical director at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital “Tragically, many times these children end up in the emergency room.”

There are nearly 9,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks a year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission. Sparklers account for one-third of the injuries to children less than 5 years of age. They join firecrackers and rockets as the fireworks that cause the majority of the injuries requiring emergency room treatment. These injuries usually involve the hands/fingers, eyes or head and can sometimes result in amputations, blindness or even death.

“Each summer we are faced with a number of patients with injuries due to fireworks,” Crabb said. “While fireworks are an exciting tradition, so many adults and children learn about their dangers from very painful experiences.”

The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals. Follow these tips to have a safe holiday:

• Never allow children to handle, play with, or light fireworks, including sparklers. Only adults should light fireworks. Warn children to leave the area immediately if their friends are using fireworks unsupervised.

• Keep the audience a safe distance away from the shooting site. Always light your fireworks outdoors in a clear open area away from buildings, vehicles, and shrubbery. Keep a bucket of water handy when lighting novelty fireworks.

• Light only one firework at a time, and never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).

• Do not consume any alcohol while lighting or handling fireworks.

• Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.

• Never try to re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks. Avoid firecrackers that appear to have been wet.

• Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, dry leaves and flammable materials. Never shoot them in metal or glass containers.

• Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.

Media contact: Sheila Galloro, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, Sheila.galloro@ahss.org; 630-856-2359