Summer is here! Can’t you just smell the burgers on the grill? See the fireflies flitting about in the backyard? And soon we’ll delight in the oohs and aahs that accompany the annual Fourth of July fireworks displays. Sadly, though, fireworks are a source of a lot of injuries. In fact, 200 people a day visit emergency rooms during the weeks surrounding the July 4th holiday — and a significant number are children.
Often considered one of the safest fireworks, sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. They join firecrackers and rockets in causing the bulk of emergency room-treated injuries. These injuries most commonly involve the hands, fingers, eyes and head and can sometimes result in amputations, blindness or even death.
Many parents overestimate their children’s ability to handle fireworks, creating a dangerous environment for everyone involved. Before your family celebrates, follow fireworks safety laws in your area and be sure everyone knows these safety tips:
- Only adults should handle fireworks. Tell children to immediately leave the area if their friends are using fireworks.
- Discuss safety procedures with your children. Teach children to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothes catch fire. Make sure they know how to call 911. Show them how to put out fireworks with water or a fire extinguisher.
- Read labels and carefully follow directions. All fireworks carry a warning label describing necessary safety precautions.
- Never use fireworks indoors.
- Be sure spectators are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.
- Never place your face or any other body part over fireworks.
- Never try to reignite fireworks that malfunction.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Light fireworks only on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials.