Make Sure Safety is Part of Your Fireworks Fun
Most people plan their holiday around fireworks. That lovely light display comes with risk, so it’s important to think about fireworks safety for your family.
While personal fireworks use may be legal in your home state, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily safe for you and your kids. More than 9,000 fireworks injuries – many of which are to young people – happen each year in the U.S. On average in the month of July, 230 people visit the ER every day with fireworks-related injuries.
“Children and young adults are particularly at risk for burns and injuries sustained from fireworks,” said Dr. Judy Schaechter, chair of pediatrics at the University of Miami Health System. “Ironically, most are under the supervision of adults when they’re injured.”
Rather than taking chances with a home show, it’s best to attend a professional display. Even so, you should be cautious. While at your local park or beach for the show, stay at least 500 feet away from where the display will be lit. Respect all safety barriers, and follow the direction of law enforcement.
If you do choose to use fireworks personally:
- Don’t buy fireworks packaged in brown paper, which are for professional use, and don’t use homemade versions that could explode unpredictably.
- Wear ear and eye protection, such as earplugs and eyewear, and stay a safe distance from the firework.
- Don’t allow children or adolescents to ignite fireworks, and young children should not hold sparklers, as they can reach 1800 degrees.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire, and soak used fireworks before disposal.
- If a firework malfunctions, don’t grab it to or try to relight it. Soak it with water and throw it away.
If you do suffer an injury, you’ll likely need to seek emergency medical treatment:
- If a particle gets into your eye, do not touch or rub it. Use lukewarm water to rinse it.
- If a sharp object enters your eye, do not pull it out. Put a loose bandage over the eye, but do not apply pressure. Go to an ER immediately.
- If you suffer a burn, do not apply an ointment or put butter or ice on the wound. Cover it and if necessary seek medical attention.
Written by a staff writer at UHealth.