Smart tips for firework fun, swimming & sun

Firework and water safety

Sparklers can burn up to 1,000°F and account for one-third of firework-related injuries among children under five. Try glow sticks instead.

It’s July — and with it comes the promise of many fun activities, including Independence Day celebrations, water recreation, picnics, beach trips and more. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when children can get hurt. From sun exposure to water accidents to firework burns, it’s important to keep safety in mind. In fact, more than 3,000 kids visit the emergency department each year for fireworks related injuries — and sparklers cause 10 percent of those injuries overall. Water-related injuries such as drowning and boating accidents also increase during the summer months.

We love to see kids having fun, but we don’t want to see them in the ER. Avoid an unwanted doctor visit with these helpful tips:

Fireworks Safety

  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show.
  • If you plan to use fireworks at home, make sure they are legal in your area. Visit the California Safety & Education Program for the list of 295 communities that permit the sale and use of state-approved fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers away from children as their little arms are too short to hold them. Sparklers can burn up to 1,000°F and they account for one-third of firework-related injuries among children under five. (Try glow sticks instead.)
  • Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use the extinguisher properly.

Water Safety

  • Never leave a child unattended around any type of water — including lakes, swimming pools, or bathtubs, even if they have a swimming aid like water wings.
  • While on boats or near bodies of water, always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Make sure the jacket fits snugly. Have your child make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up – if the life jacket hits the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
  • Swimming aids, such as water wings or noodles, are solely toys for kids. They should never be used in place of a life jacket.
  • Install fences around home pools that surround all sides of the pool and stand at least four feet tall with self-latching and self-closing gates.
  • Empty all tubs, buckets, and kiddie pools immediately after use. If possible, store them upside down so they don’t collect water.
  • Shield your child with sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Remember that water can dilute sunscreen, so be sure to reapply.
  • Know what to do in an emergency – learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a child’s life. For classes available at Stanford Children’s Health, please visit our Prenatal, Infant and Child classes website.

By following these simple reminders, we hope every summertime gathering will be a super fun and safe adventure.

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