OU Medicine News

Glow Product and Fireworks Mishaps

      OKLAHOMA CITY – Around the 4th of July, poison centers manage an increasing number of calls about exposures to glow sticks and fireworks.

      Parents often view glow sticks as a safe alternative to fireworks. Because of their attractive shapes and colors, glow products are very tempting for children to place in the mouth. In doing so, the child may bite into and puncture the product, allowing the liquid to leak out and be swallowed or splash into the eye. 

      “Parents often become concerned when they see their child with glowing liquid coating the inside of the mouth. A mouthful of liquid from a glow stick is minimally toxic, causing only minor mouth, throat or skin irritation. However, if glow stick liquid is squirted into the eyes, it can cause serious injury” says Scott Schaeffer, managing director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information. “Any liquid that comes in contact with the skin should be washed off with soap and water; if swallowed gently wipe the skin around the mouth and give something to drink and if splashed into the eye thorough irrigation is necessary.” Observe children closely to help prevent glow product mishaps that could cause a fun day to end painfully.

      Fireworks often come in packages that can look like candy to a child. Swallowing any amount of fireworks can be harmful. Burned or used fireworks may still contain chemicals such as potassium nitrate, white phosphorus, barium chlorate, and arsenic. They should be kept out of the reach of children and animals. Call the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information immediately for treatment recommendations following any exposure to glow products or fireworks.

      Pharmacists and registered nurses at the poison center are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 222-1222. Please do not email the poison center or a member of the poison center staff, as poisoning emergencies are not handled through email. The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information is a program of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy at the OU Health Sciences Center. For more information, log on to www.oklahomapoison.org.

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