Firework Safety

Millions of Americans celebrate our nation's independence on the 4th of July with food, family, and the ever-so entertaining, fireworks. While the main goal during the celebration is to have fun, it is important to remember that fireworks can be dangerous and you must be careful when setting them off. Here are a few tips to help keep your family safe during your firework celebration.

First and foremost, never allow children to play with fireworks, especially without adult supervision. Children often do not realize the potential consequences of playing with fireworks and can become careless. Furthermore, individuals should NEVER consume alcohol when playing with fireworks. Alcohol can impair an individual’s judgment, as well as slow an individual’s reaction time. This is critical when it comes to firework safety.

Never shoot high flying or projectile-type fireworks toward trees, cars, roof tops or any other objects or humans. This can lead to fires or significant burn or other types of serious injuries. When lighting fireworks near grassy areas, keeping a water hose or buckets of water nearby is always a good idea. Grass is often times significantly more dry than it may appear, causing flames from the fireworks to spread very quickly and become out of control.

Always be sure to purchase fireworks from a licensed distributor. Often times the cheaper or "homemade" fireworks are poorly made. Poorly made fireworks can cause many issues ranging from early ignition or improper combustion. Licensed distributors should have their certifications posted near the counter or should be able to produce a licensed certificate when asked.

After a firework is lit, you should never attempt to re-light, or pick up a firework that has not ignited fully. These fireworks are considered "live" and are subject to go off at any time. If this occurs while in your hand it can cause serious injuries. Hand injuries can also occur when trying to light more than one firework at a time. Even if a firework appears to a dud or already set off, DO NOT attempt to pick it up.

While having fun and celebrating the 4th of July will be at the front of your mind, the most important thing is to be safe. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and accidents can happen in an instant. Use these firework safety tips to ensure a fun and safe day and night of celebration. Have a happy 4th of July!!!

Sleep Deprivation and Sleep Studies

The new school year is upon us, and children are forced to go back to their regular school sleep schedules. This may mean that they’re getting less sleep than in the summer months, and for many parents, sleep deprivation is a real concern.

Sleep deprivation affects every aspect of the child’s life, from friends and family relationships to school performance to their daily behavior. Studies have shown that sleep deprived children have more difficulty focusing and staying on task. However, they may also have more impulsive or defiant behavior.

Lack of sleep can affect your child’s school performance in two major ways.

First, when children are in class, they can have trouble paying attention because of their difficulty focusing. They can miss important verbal lessons due to inattention or they may be unable to complete tasks in the classroom.

Second, children form their memories best during sleep. Children who sleep well at night will remember the previous day’s lessons better than children who are sleep deprived.

When adults become sleepy, they will typically slow down. If they stop moving and are in a comfortable place without stimulation, they may fall asleep. However, sleep deprivation can have the opposite effect on children, causing them to become more energetic and even hyperactive.

It is recommended that adults get an average of eight hours of sleep per night, but kids need more. Young children need more than 12 hours per night. For example, a 5-year-old needs about 12 hours per night, a 10-year-old needs about 10 hours per night, and by the time children are in their teenage years, they need nine hours per night.

Your child can probably handle missing one hour of sleep one night. However, if they miss one hour of sleep for multiple nights, it is as if they missed two hours of sleep on the second night. By the third night, it is as if they missed three hours, and so on. This creates a sleep debt. By the end of the week, the sleep debt can be so great that the child cannot make it up on the weekends and can become chronically sleep deprived.

In addition to getting plenty of sleep, it is important that children get quality sleep as well. Multiple medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, nocturnal seizures or parasomnias can affect the quality of sleep.

Children who have symptoms of these conditions may require an overnight sleep study to diagnose them. An overnight polysomnogram, or sleep study, is the gold standard for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea or other nocturnal sleeping conditions.

In summary, it is important for children to get a good quality and quantity of sleep each night. Once they have achieved this, parents can be confident that their children can fill their potential.

This blog post was contributed by Joseph B. Rosen, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist and sleep doctor..