The traditions of parades, cookouts, and fireworks help us celebrate the summer season and are synonymous with the celebration of Independence Day. But before your family celebrates, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.
Fireworks can turn a joyful celebration into a painful memory when children and adults are injured or killed while using fireworks. Although legal consumer fireworks can be relatively safe when used responsibly, all fireworks, by their nature, are hazardous and can cause injuries.
Some fireworks, such as illegal firecracker-type devices (M-80s, quarter sticks) and professional display fireworks should never be handled by non-professionals, due to the risk of serious injury and death.
The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSA) reports 200 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
CPSC report eight nonoccupational fireworks-related deaths occurring in six incidents during 2013. Fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,400 injuries treated in U.S. hospital
emergency departments during calendar year 2013. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for approximately 40 percent of the estimated 2013 injuries. More than half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
There were an estimated 2,300 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 300 with bottle rockets. There were an estimated 800 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 28 percent were associated with small firecrackers, an estimated 19 percent with illegal firecrackers, and an estimated 53 percent with firecrackers for which there was no specific information.
The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 36 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 22 percent); eyes (an estimated 16 percent); and legs (an estimated 14 percent).
Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries.
For a safe and enjoyable summer season follow these firework safety tips:
NEVER allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks under any circumstances.
Older children should be permitted to use fireworks only under close adult supervision. DO NOT allow any running or horseplay.
ALWAYS have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
Sparklers, a firework often considered by many to be the ideal “safe” device for the young, burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals—and should be NEVER be handled by young children.
Fireworks should only be used outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves, or grass and other flammable materials.
Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.
Alcohol and fireworks DO NOT mix.
NEVER place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
NEVER try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Soak them with water and throw them away.
NEVER point or throw fireworks at another person.
Keep a fully stocked basic first aid kit nearby in case of emergency.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby for emergencies and in case of fire.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
NEVER carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
Observe all local laws. Make sure fireworks are legal in your state or local area before buying or using them. Fireworks are prohibited on most local, state, and national recreation lands including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campsites and day use facilities.
Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
Just a reminder that fireworks look even more amazing when you’re not constantly checking your iPhone.