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8 Fireworks Safety Tips for Independence Day

Celebrating our country’s independence with fireworks on the Fourth of July is a well-established American tradition. But it’s not without risk — fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2019. 

It’s possible to enjoy fireworks safely by taking some simple steps before enjoying the show. 

There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Firework 

The most common injuries caused by fireworks are burns, particularly those that affect the hand and fingers. Many fireworks have a short fuse, so if you light one and then hold onto it, you risk injuring yourself. Eye injuries, including those that result in blindness, are also common. 

Unfortunately, even fireworks considered “safe” for kids can be dangerous. Sparklers, which burn at up to 2,000 degrees F, account for a significant percentage of emergency room visits among children, especially those under 5. In other words, there is no such thing as a safe firework. Even the ones we consider relatively benign can cause serious injury if used incorrectly. 

Fireworks Safety Tips 

As you and your family prepare to celebrate, keep these fireworks safety tips in mind: 

●  Never mix alcohol or drugs with fireworks — save your libations for after the show. 

●  Carefully read any instructions included with fireworks and always use as directed. 

●  Make sure spectators are watching the fireworks from a safe distance. 

●  Always closely supervise kids with fireworks. Don’t allow young children to handle fireworks. 

●  Hook up a hose and have it ready in case of fire, along with a bucket of water you can drop “duds” into to prevent them from a potential delayed explosion. 

●  Keep as much of your skin covered as possible when handling fireworks. Wear work gloves and long sleeves. Safety goggles are also a good idea. 

●  Never carry fireworks in your pocket. 

●  Make sure fireworks are completely burned out before you dispose of them. 

What To Do In Case of Injury 

In most cases, minor burns can be treated at home. As soon as the burn happens, go straight to your hose or bucket of water to cool the skin down. Next, apply a soothing topical treatment like aloe vera gel to the area. 

If the burned skin isn’t just red but also blistering, it’s time to seek medical attention at your nearest emergency department. You’ll also want to head to the ER (or call 911) for other fireworks-related injuries that can’t be treated at home. 

Fireworks Fun Without Fear 

Review a fireworks safety plan with friends and family before you start the festivities, so everyone knows the rules and how to handle mishaps. 

When you know what to do — and what not to do — when handling fireworks, you won’t have to worry about your celebration ending with a trip to the emergency room.


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