The Fourth of July and other summer celebrations are a time for enjoyment, making memories and being aware of summer safety tips.
COVID-19 vaccines for people older than 12-years of age means a bit more freedom compared to the safety precautions from last summer. Masks and social distancing are still generally recommended for unvaccinated children younger than 12.
The physicians at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and Regions Hospital remind you that preparation is the key to keeping safe. These doctors want to help you avoid injuries from fireworks, heat related illnesses, campfire safety and preventing water accidents.
Gillette and Regions operate Minnesota’s first Level I pediatric trauma center so these health care providers are a reliable resource to keep you and your family in the fun and out of the emergency room.
Fireworks injuries: Each year, the Regions Hospital Burn Center treats patients with fireworks injuries around the Fourth of July. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, the most common injuries involve fireworks that are legal: sparklers, bottle rockets and firecrackers, with adults ages 20-24 and children younger than 5 having the highest rate of injuries. Most of the injuries to children ages 5 and younger are from sparklers, which burn at 1,800 degrees – hot enough to melt metal.
To prevent injury:
- Never ignite devices in a container.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Keep children at least 5 feet away from sparklers; at least 20 feet away from displays that don’t leave the ground; and at least 40 feet away from fireworks that shoot into the air.
- Keep a bucket of water close to fully extinguish fireworks.
Anyone can be at risk of sunburn, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Infants and the elderly are most at risk. Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- A red rash
- Elevated heart rate
- Feelings of fatigue and lightheadedness
To prevent and treat heat exhaustion, drink water or sports drinks. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can lead to heatstroke, which is more dangerous. Seek medical help if symptoms worsen or don’t get better within one hour.
Each year, the burn center sees an average of 10 children with serious campfire burns. The median age is 2 years old and most (80 percent) injuries are from day-old campfires.
To prevent burns:
- Keep children away from fire pits and grills.
- Don’t assume a fire pit is cool – even the morning after a campfire. Seemingly cool logs can cause third-degree burns.
- Make sure children are wearing shoes to prevent burns to the feet. Always extinguish fires with water.
- Never cover fire pits with dirt or sand – that just traps heat and makes it difficult for people to see.
Fish hook injuries
Every year, Regions and Gillette treat patients for injuries related to fish hooks from the fishing opener to Labor Day. Many injuries happen when anglers are removing the hook from the fish. To prevent injuries:
- Put hooks that are not on a line in a puncture-resistant container. If the hook is on the line, get a hook retainer that attaches to the rod.
- Casting is dangerous, especially for eyes. Wear glasses.
- Another common injury is the fish hook in the foot. Don’t walk around the boat barefoot or in sandals. Wear shoes.
- Be sure to have and use life jackets when you’re in and around the water.
Independence from danger and injury
So this July 4th declare your independence from danger and injury. A little preparation means you can be free to have a safe summer celebration!