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Summer Series: Firework Safety

The Fourth of July is rapidly approaching, which means it is time to sit back and enjoy the spectacular fireworks with your friends and the kiddos. What better place is there to celebrate our country than our historic, beautiful state of Wyoming?

There is currently a county-wide fire ban in Converse County until October 1st due to fire danger. However, you may still be planning to attend a show or use fireworks outside our county this Fourth of July. Regardless of whether you plan on spectating or participating in a smaller way, safety should be a priority. Memorial Hospital of Converse County has some tips to make sure your red, white, and booms go as planned!

Addressing Expectations and Fears

· Talk with young ones about what they expect from the display and how they feel. You may be surprised to hear what they have to say—addressing false expectations and unruly fears ahead of time will help ease them. You can also gauge whether your child is ready to attend these exciting shows yet or if they should wait another year.

· If your child fears something specific, such as loud noises or the dark, they may benefit from gradual exposure. You might consider letting them watch past firework shows on television or accompanying them outside after sunset to help them conquer the fear.

Safety Education for Children:

· According to family medicine experts, sparklers are responsible for many burn injuries amongst young children. They can reach temperatures of up to two thousand degrees Fahrenheit—let children know how dangerous this is! Show them the oven or a bonfire and explain that sparklers are much hotter and can be highly hazardous. Consider alternatives for younger children, such as glow sticks, to celebrate.

· Prevent children from playing near or around fireworks, as this can lead to accidents.

· If you are spectating, stay at least 500 feet from the location of the firework lighting. Show kiddos how far this distance is before the show.

Hearing Protection:

· Everyone should wear hearing protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs, to prevent ear damage. If you have young children or will be supervising little ones at the show, give them the responsibility of picking out the color and style of their earplugs or earmuffs, so they are eager to wear them on the big day.

· Clearly explain to children the purpose of the ear protection and how important it is to wear it. Consider creating a competition with a prize at the end of the night for children who keep their ear protection throughout the entire display.

· Leave the area and consult a healthcare professional if you notice a prolonged ringing in your ears. This ringing is called tinnitus and can indicate hearing damage. Help youngsters understand how to recognize this sound and alert an adult if it arises. Having them listen to a video of what this ringing sounds like can help raise their awareness.

Injury Tips:

· Know how to address an injury, and always keep a first aid kit on hand. Educate kids on how important it is to tell mom, dad, or the designated adult about a “booboo,” burn, or bleeding immediately.

· Keep water readily available in case of an emergency. Preparation is critical to prevent the escalation of firework accidents.

· If a burn occurs, cool the affected area with cold water or ice. If there is bleeding, prevent blood loss by applying pressure to the wound with a piece of fabric or firmly wrapped gauze.

· Come prepared to calm any situation involving injuries with children by having some of their favorite distractions available to help calm.

Furry Family Members

· Regardless of whether or not children are in your celebratory mix, you may have pets. Please do not include them in the festivities; protect them from the loud noises and the accompanying anxiety by leaving them home.

Luckily, firework safety isn’t rocket science if you abide by the local Wyoming laws and these safety pointers. If you want to learn more about firework safety to take care of your friends and family, contact MHCC, and we will connect you to local resources so your questions are answered!