Fourth of July

Sparklers are legal in Illinois, but experts raise safety concerns

More than half of fireworks-related injuries impact children, according to recent studies

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Sparklers are legal in Illinois, but pediatric emergency physician Dr. Shannon Staley says that doesn’t mean they are safe.

“It gives parents a false sense of security, but sparklers can burn at over thousands of degrees of heat,” said Staley, who works at Advocate Children’s Hospital.

Staley says sparklers can be particularly dangerous for young kids.

“Sparklers are so fascinating to look at, but it really causes them to usually try to grab at it or bring it closer to their face, so we see a lot of hand burns and a lot of eye injuries,” Staley said.

The Loyola Burn Center in Maywood is also preparing to be busy, as they are every Fourth of July.

“These injuries can go anywhere from a nuisance to a life changing event, and we see them all, said Dr. Josh Carson, medical director of the Loyola Burn Center at Loyola Medicine. “Nobody I've seen in the burn center on the Fourth of July had a great Fourth of July, right? It can really ruin a great night."

Carson’s advice?

“The number one option, safest option by far, is to let professionals do it. And they usually are better anyways, right?” she said.

If individuals are going to celebrate with fireworks, there are a few safety precautions they should take including having a fire extinguisher on hand or a hose and bucket of water.

“We always say have a bucket of water around when something catches on fire. And please don't try to modify your fireworks,” Carson said.

In the event that someone does suffer a burn, the best thing to do is rinse the area gently under cool water. Carson says you should never apply ice or an ice pack to the wound.

“You're burning it one way and then you're burning it the other way, right? Because that's like a cold injury,” Carson said.

If alcohol is being consumed, Carson said that’s another reason to leave the fireworks display to the professionals.

“That’s not the time to be handling gunpowder,” said Carson.

Supervision is also key, especially if the holiday celebrations is taking place near a pool or body of water.

“A mix of distracted adults and free roaming children is always a little bit dangerous, especially if you're around water, around cars or around fireworks,” Staley said.

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