Fireworks and Safety
When handled properly, fireworks can create dazzling displays that are fun for the whole family. Careless behavior can, however, result in life-altering injuries. In just one year, fireworks cause more than 9,000 reported injuries in the U.S. Here’s a guide of firework safety tips to help ensure your holiday or celebration remains a safe one. Leave fireworks to the professionals.
Leave fireworks to the professionals.
- The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
- If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area. Known illegal fireworks should never be used. Included in this list are anything that starts with an M, such as the M-80, M-100, and M-250, as well as cherry bombs. These products are illegal because they are produced with no quality control, and have shorter fuses, which may result in severe injuries.
Be extra careful with sparklers.
- Little arms are too short to hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Safekids recommends letting young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass.
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
- If sparklers are being used near children, place a bucket of water nearby to toss in used sparklers. Do not permit used sparklers to be tossed on the ground.
- Sparklers or other fireworks retain heat for a period of time. Require children to wear shoes to avoid foot burns.
Take Necessary Precautions
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby at all times to soak duds with, and do not try to relight them.
- Don’t light fireworks in any type of container, and never carry them in a pocket, because the friction of movement can cause them to light.
- Perhaps most importantly, never mix alcohol and fireworks.
Be Prepared for an Accident or Injury
- Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
- If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
By following these guidelines measures, injuries can be kept to a minimum, and the fireworks can be enjoyed without a trip to the emergency room.
Adapted from safekids.org and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.