Q: Fireworks are my children's favorite part of summer celebrations. They are now old enough to use some of them with my supervision, but I still worry about injuries and burns. How do I know if they need medical treatment from a fireworks burn?
A: Burn injuries are classified from first degree to third degree, based on their severity. A first-degree burn is painful and causes redness of the skin; a second-degree burn causes blistering of the skin; and third-degree burns go through the skin to other tissues and/or muscles. Fireworks are most likely to cause first- and second-degree burns, but rarely third-degree burns. Self-diagnosing the severity of a burn is not recommended, and medical treatment should be sought with all burns. There are things you can do to provide aid to a burn patient while on the way to get medical attention: Remove any clothing near the burn site, and cover the burn with a cool, wet cloth to reduce some of the nerve pain. As a reminder, children under the age of 15 should not use fireworks and those over 15 should be supervised. Always keep a hose or fire extinguisher nearby when lighting fireworks. Never light a firework and aim it toward a person. Do not experiment with or try to modify a firework.
— Dr. Tonia Cox, CHI Memorial Pediatric Diagnostic Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.