School’s out, warm weather, family fun events and the Fourth of July can be a fantastic time for parents and their children. But before you and your children celebrate everyone should be aware of fireworks safety.
The best way for a family to protect themselves against fireworks is to avoid using the altogether. Go to the park and other venues where you can see public fireworks display, leave the displaying of fireworks to the people who know how to use them, the professionals!
Lighting and having fireworks at home are illegal in the state of New Jersey. Parents should be aware of the law and when in doubt consult with your local police department.
What Parents Should Know
If handled improperly fireworks can cause burns, eye injuries in kids and adults. There were six deaths, in 2003 and visits to the emergency room where 9,300 fireworks injuries were treated.
Kids should never handle fireworks, but things like rockets and sparklers are dangerous too. If your kids handle sparklers, make sure to keep them outside and away from the face, clothes, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius) – hot enough to melt gold. Bottle rockets, small firecrackers and Roman candles accounted for an estimated 6 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent respectively of total injuries during that same one-month span.
Children younger than 15 accounted for 39 percent of the injuries catalogued during the one-month period around the Fourth of July, according to the report.
We all know that our kids want to have fun, but we must always remember to keep them safe.
FIVE SAFETY TIPS
- Don’t let your children use sparklers- the most common firework injuries are the result of seemingly harmless sparklers.
- Don’t sit near the launching site at a fireworks show.
- Don’t touch fireworks debris- even on the ground spent debris can be extremely hot
- If fireworks go off douse immediately with water
- Leave fireworks to the professionals
Take the following measures if you have been injured by fireworks:
- Immediately go to a doctor or hospital
- Eye injuries- don’t allow your child to touch or rub
- Don’t flush the eye out or put ointment on it
- Remove clothing if there is a burn
- Remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold water
- Do not use ice
- Again, seek medical attention immediate to avoid long-term and serious injuries
What the Law States
The law states that the sale or possession of fireworks with intent to sell is a crime of the fourth degree. Any person found guilty of possessing fireworks, including sparklers, with the intention of selling them, can be fined up to $7,500.00 and/or imprisoned up to 18 months. It is also important to note that any person found using fireworks illegally can be fined up to $500 and/or imprisoned for up to 30 days.
The fireworks laws are jointly enforced by municipalities and the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
If you have any doubt about the legality of any fireworks or have a question about fireworks, you may call the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development at 609-292-2096 for verification.
Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed but we must use caution. Take extra precautions this Fourth of July and your holiday will be fantastic.
Have a great and safe summer!
Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2010, June). Latest Report. Retrieved June 13, 2011, from www.cpsc.gov: http://www.cpsc.gov/library/2009fwreport.pdf
National Fire Protection Association. (2010, June). U.S. Fire Administration. Retrieved June 30, 2011, from U.S. Fire Adminsitration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/fireworks.shtm
NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (2011, June). Accidents Reported by Emergency Rooms. Accidents Reported by Emergency Rooms. Trenton, New Jersey, United States: State of New Jersey