Enjoy The Show ... From a Safe Distance

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

In a flash, about 3,000 children across the U.S. will be injured by fireworks while enjoying one of the traditions of Fourth of July celebrations.

In the wrong hands, fireworks can cause serious burns and other injuries.

Andrea Bladel, R.N., B.S.N. and Trauma Nurse Coordinator for Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Davenport, said the best way to avoid a trip to the emergency department is to leave fireworks displays to the professionals.

Again this year, Genesis Health System is sponsoring the spectacular Red, White and Boom! fireworks display on the riverfront on Sunday, July 3.

“The professional fireworks displays are safer, bigger and better than anything we can do in our backyards,’’ Bladel said. “Even sparklers, which

are one of the few devices legal to use in Iowa and Illinois, burn at 1,800 degrees (Fahrenheit) and can be dangerous.  Used improperly, they can cause burns and burn clothing.

“If kids use sparklers, we urge close parental supervision and urge kids to stay in one place and not run with sparklers,’’ Bladel added.

Sparklers account for about one third of the total fireworks-related injuries seen in emergency departments each year.  More than half of the injuries sustained by children less than 5 years old are related to lighting sparklers.

Firecrackers, illegal for use in Iowa and Illinois, account for about 26 percent

of  injuries.

Bladel said that people in the Quad Cities are listening to the messages about fireworks safety.  Genesis Medical Center has had no hospital admissions related to fireworks injuries in recent years.  There is a similar trend of fewer fireworks injuries being reported across the country.

“Fireworks accidents happen, however, we have fewer injuries locally than in many other areas,’’ Bladel said. “I think this is due, in part, because of the high quality of our local professional fireworks displays.

“Thousands of people in the Quad Cities attend these public shows and these shows have safety records that are outstanding.  Most injuries locally occur when people use fireworks at home.’’

Bladel said the most disturbing statistic, which is supported by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control statistics, is that young people have the highest injury rates.  “A child will tell parents, ‘I can do it myself, I don’t need help.’  Often the child can’t do it themselves and there are injuries,’’ Bladel said.  “Those injuries can be severe.?

“One of the reasons we continue to see fireworks injuries, some of them severe, is that people don’t recognize how dangerous these devices can be.  If children are going to use fireworks, they need very close supervision.  Children often lack the physical coordination to handle any

fireworks safely.  Even with a sparkler, they can fall and suffer burns.’’

Here are recommendations to prevent fireworks injuries at home from Andrea Bladel, Trauma Coordinator for Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme St.:

•Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances

•Older children should only be permitted to use legal fireworks under close, adult supervision

•Light fireworks outdoors in areas clear of houses, dry leaves, grass or flammable materials

•Do not smoke while handling fireworks

•Have water available nearby for emergencies

•Be sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks

•Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting

•Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks

•Do not try to relight “duds’’

Alcohol and fireworks are a dangerous combination

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave the shows to the professionals. Genesis hopes you enjoy the spectacular Red, White and Boom! show on July 3.

The fireworks display over the Mississippi River will begin at 9:30 p.m.  A patriotic pops performance by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra from Centennial Park will be simulcast on Star 93.5 during the fireworks display.

Genesis will also sponsor a fireworks display on Friday, July 1 at Jackson County Regional Health Center in Maquoketa at 9:30 p.m. to celebrate a one-year affiliation with Genesis Health System and an expansion of services at the hospital.