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Fireworks can be kids worst enemy

The summer heat, the smell of hamburgers on the grill, and the sound of fireworks can only mean one thing.

It's nearing the Fourth of July.

With warm weather and family events, the holiday can be a fun time with great memories. But before the family celebrates this year, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.

So how can Americans enjoy the Fourth of July and still stay safe? The best thing anyone can do to protect their family is to attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

However, for those that live in a state that allows fireworks and a do-it-yourself event is planned individuals need to take extra precautions.

KidsHealth.org, a website devoted to children's health and parenting, offers these safety tips to ensure all family's holidays are a blast:

•Do not let children play with fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers are very dangerous. If teens want to use sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from their face, clothing, and hair.

•Buy only legal fireworks and store them in a cool, dry place. If the fireworks don't list the manufacturer's name or have an instruction label, they're probably illegal. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarterpounder.

•Never try to make fireworks. Buy ready-made fireworks rather than making them, even from a kit.

•Choose fireworks that are appropriate for the area. Avoid using rockets or other aerial fireworks in the backyard of a residential area. Choose fountain-type fireworks instead.

•Steer clear of others. Fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Avoid carrying fireworks in a pocket, as the friction could set them off.

•Keep a bucket of water and a hose nearby. Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away and keep a hose nearby in case dry leaves or other materials catch on fire.

•Light one firework at a time and never relight a dud. If a firework doesn't appear to work, do not go over to it or attempt to relight it. Stand back and wait and then douse it with water.

•Think about pets in the area. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed by fireworks. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that it will run loose or get injured.

"The best way to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a professional show," says Kate Cronan, M.D., medical editor for KidsHealth.org and an emergency room pediatrician at DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del. "However, if fireworks are legal in the state, the first rule for parents to remember is that children should never play with fireworks or be allowed to set them off. The most common firework injuries involve the hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face and many parents may not realize that children are at increased risk for deeper burns because their skin is thinner than adult skin."

If an eye injury occurs, don't allow anyone to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. Do not flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention.

If a burn injury occurs, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool water over the burn (do not use ice) and call the doctor immediately.





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