Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July? Fireworks, cookouts, maybe even the day off work! It can feel like a big party, but in the midst of all the fun, do take some basic precautions, too, to keep yourself and your family and friends safe.
“Every year around the Fourth of July holiday, people are burned or injured by fireworks. However, fireworks are a poisoning hazard, as well,” says Rose Ann Soloway of the National Capitol Poison Center. “If swallowed by children, adults or pets, the chemicals in fireworks can make them sick.”
Fireworks often come in pretty, colorful packages that can look like candy to a child, but they contain chemicals that can be harmful if even a little bit is swallowed. Fireworks should be kept out of the reach of children and animals.
In 2010, poison centers across the country received 995 calls about exposures to fireworks and explosives. Of those, nearly 80 percent involved children younger than 6.
The following are examples of calls to poison centers about fireworks:
- A parent called because her child ate six or seven firecrackers. The child became sick and vomited.
- A caller was worried about his 2-year-old who ate a “snake” firework, thinking it was gum.
- A pet owner called because her dog ate a firecracker in the park
If you are concerned that someone may have eaten or swallowed some fireworks, call your poison center at 1-800-222-1222 right away. The poison center is open to take your calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year – including the Fourth of July.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 57 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures. Poison centers offer free, private, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take calls in more than 150 languages and from the hearing impaired.
For questions about poison or if you think someone has been exposed to a poison, call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center.