Date: June 29, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kathryn Wesolowski (216) 983-1124 or Kathy.Wesolowski@UHhospitals.org Fireworks Injure 2,600 Kids Each Summer UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Greater Cleveland Offer Fourth of July Safety Tips CLEVELAND, OH – The Fourth of July is a time for celebration across the country, and here in Greater Cleveland fireworks are a crowd favorite each year. Whether at a professional show or in the backyard, fireworks can be fun to watch – but they can also be very dangerous. In 2007, an estimated 2,600 children ages 14 and under were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for injuries involving fireworks during the fireworks season, which runs from the middle of June until the middle of July. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 40 percent of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15. “Don’t let kids play with fireworks, period,” says Walter Chwals, MD, Director of Rainbow’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. “They’re intended for use by adults in open spaces, with plenty of active supervision for every child present.” Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. “Teach your children what to do if their clothing catches on fire — ‘stop, drop and roll’ — and how to call 911 in an emergency,” says Dr. Chwals. The only type of fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio are trick and novelty fireworks. These include items that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake. For those who choose to have a family fireworks display using these legal fireworks, the State Fire Marshal’s Office encourages people to follow some important safety tips: • Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision. • Appoint one adult to be in charge. This person should know the hazards of each type of firework being used. • Carefully read and follow the label directions on the trick and novelty device packaging. • Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from your body and others. • Sparkler wires should immediately be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout. • If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for two or three minutes and seek medical attention when necessary. Finally, as in any activity involving hazardous equipment, keep all children under active supervision — in sight and in reach at all times, with your undivided attention focused on them — when they’re near fireworks. “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them,” says Dr. Chwals. ### Page 2 of 2 - Fireworks About us: The Rainbow Injury Prevention Center is the injury prevention arm of Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Because unintentional injury is the leading killer of American children and among the top 10 causes of death at all ages, the Center’s mission is to serve as a resource on an array of injury prevention issues for community groups, health care providers, emergency medical services personnel, law enforcement, and anyone interested in protecting children and families. Rainbow is lead agency for Safe Kids Greater Cleveland, a coalition of community members working together to prevent accidental childhood injury. For more information about fireworks safety and burn prevention, call 216-983-1110. The Rainbow Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center provides state-of-the-art care for critically injured children from the time of injury through rehabilitation. The Rainbow Pediatric Trauma Center is northern Ohio’s only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. A team of specially trained pediatric specialists are immediately available to treat children with the potential for life-threatening injuries 24 hours per day. For more information about the Pediatric Trauma Center, call 216-844-3898.