Hometown parades and backyard barbeques are a couple of festive ways to celebrate the Fourth of July, but fireworks seem to be the most popular ritual. While taking part in the celebratory traditions, it’s important to take precaution when near fireworks to avoid injuries to the fingers, hands, arms and even face.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2016, emergency departments, doctors’ offices and clinics treated 25,047 people for firework-related injuries.
“Taking part in fireworks may seem like a harmless Fourth of July tradition, but the injuries that can result from one night of fun can be debilitating,” says orthopaedic trauma surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Michael Suk, MD. “Consider leaving fireworks to the professionals and attend a professional firework display instead of handling fireworks yourself. If you do decide to use them, exercise caution to reduce your risk for serious injury.”
Follow these simple tips to ensure safety this Independence Day:
- Check with your local police department to determine if fireworks are legal in your area. If so, find out which types, and verify that there is not a burn ban in effect in your community for fire hazard conditions.
- Never purchase or use illegal fireworks. Their quality cannot be assured.
- Only adults should light fireworks.
- Always have water handy in case of a fire, such as a hose hooked to a faucet or a nearby bucket of water.
- Wear safety eyewear when using fireworks.
- Soak used fireworks in water before discarding to prevent unintentional fires.
- Never try to relight a firework.
- If you are injured using fireworks, seek immediate medical attention.
- Never allow young children to play with or go near fireworks, including sparklers. They seem harmless but sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
- Never handle fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.