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How to avoid injuries this 4th of July

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Each year families and friends gather on July 4 to celebrate our nation's independence.  Each year, thousands of children and adults are treated in emergency rooms for 4th of July related injuries. Dr. Kevin Campbell explains that many of the injuries are preventable.

The most common injuries seen on July 4 are fireworks related injuries and water sports injuries.  In a survey conducted by the federal government last year, it was found that 65 percent of all fireworks related injuries occur in the days surrounding the holiday.  Last year there were four deaths and over 9,600 injuries related to fireworks. 

The most common injuries were burns and the most common age group was age 20-44.  More severe injuries included damage to the eyes resulting in blindness. 

Dr. Campbell says the best way to avoid fireworks related injuries is to leave it to the professionals. But if you are going to launch your own fireworks, you should observe a few safety guidelines:

  • Keep kids away from the fireworks
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy
  • Store the fireworks in a safe place
  • Even sparklers can be dangerous

Other common mishaps during the holiday include grilling injuries as well as swimming mishaps.

Dr. Campbell says it's better to swim with a buddy.  If you're watching your children swim, keep a close eye on them at all times because it only takes a few minutes for a child to get into trouble in the water. 

If you're at the beach, swim in areas with a lifeguard and be aware of rip currents and how to swim out of them.   Drowning can occur quickly. And always designate a chaperone to watch the kids in the water and do not assume that someone else is watching. 

Alcohol related injuries can also occur during the July 4th holiday. Dr. Campbell says you should not combine water sports with drinking and absolutely do not drink and drive.  Also do not handle any fireworks if you have been drinking.

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