Watch Now: Fireworks and Holiday Safety (Infographic)

Are you getting ready for the Fourth of July weekend? Declarations of safety should be a part of Independence Day celebrations, says Ricardo Castrellon, M.D., a plastic surgeon and burn specialist at South Miami Hospital and other Baptist Health entities.  While celebrating, it’s important to exercise caution to avoid injuries from fireworks, drowning, food poisoning and other holiday accidents, according to according Fernando Mendoza, M.D., medical director, Children’s Emergency Center at Baptist Children’s Hospital, and associate medical director of pediatric emergency services at West Kendall Baptist Hospital.

Fireworks safety dominated the news last year after Jason Pierre-Paul, a professional football player with the New York Giants, lost a finger and severely damaged his hand following a Fourth of July fireworks accident in South Florida. This year, Pierre-Paul recorded a public service announcement for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to warn others about the dangers of fireworks.

(Caption: A gruesome fireworks-related injury  prompted NFL star Jason Pierre-Paul to record a public service announcement about the dangers of fireworks.)

Every year, burns linked to fireworks create danger and potential tragedy for thousands of families in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  In 2015, injuries linked to fireworks were nearly 12,000 — up from approximately 10,000 injuries in 2014. The final figures are still under review, but initial calculations show at least 11 deaths caused by fireworks in 2015; compared to 11 fatalities linked to fireworks in 2014 and eight in 2013, according to the CPSC. (For more information about firework safety, please see the infographic below).

Burns linked to outdoor grills are also a seasonal hazard. “Each year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns,” according to the National Fire Protection Agency.

Holiday Safety Roundup

Grilling and Food  Safety
Safety Tips and Information:

Before lighting the grill, do a safety check.

  • Has your grill been recalled? Check If the grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.
  • Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.
  • Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.
  • Is the grill clean? Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.
    Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For more food-safety information, please review: Healthy Cookouts: 10 Safe Food-Handling Tips

Water Safety

In South Florida, near-drowning or drowning – so called submersion injuries – can happen year-round, but incidents increase in summer and especially during holiday celebrations, according to Dr. Mendoza.

“Both young children and teens are vulnerable to water accidents,” Dr. Mendoza said. “Even teens who are experienced swimmers are at risk because they underestimate the dangers associated with water activities. Jumping from a high point into water, rough play in the water or pounding surf can cause injuries and drowning among these youths.”

Dr. Mendoza recommends that parents supervise young children around water and install physical barriers, such as door locks and pool fences, to prevent access to swimming pools when an adult is not around. For older children and teens, he admits it’s more difficult to prevent accidents. But, he says, talking to them about the risks of dangerous behaviors can be helpful. Nonetheless, even older kids need supervision by adults.

“For every one child that dies from a water-related drowning, another five come to the emergency room for near drownings,” Dr. Mendoza said. “There are a lot of water accidents out there that don’t get reported. Safety is key to preventing a tragedy.”

For more safety information, please review:  Six Water Safety tips

Fireworks Safety


Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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