Each year, thousands of Americans, many of them children, are injured by fireworks. Most of these injuries occur during the Independence Day holiday and include serious burns, loss of fingers, and blindness.
Avoidable Fireworks Injuries
“We cannot stress the importance of fireworks safety enough,” says Brent Treichler, M.D., trauma director at Metroplex. “Many of the fireworks injuries we see can be avoided if people are just more careful.”
Though many serious injuries occur with illegal firecrackers, such as M-80s, most injuries are caused by bottle rockets, sparklers, and Roman candles.
“Most of the time, minor fireworks injuries can be treated by using standard first aid practices,” says Dr. Treichler. “However, if in doubt, go ahead and come to the hospital. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
Viewing displays handled by professionals is the safest way to enjoy fireworks. However, if you plan to use your own fireworks, these precautions can help prevent injuries:
- Don’t let children play with the fireworks.
- Make sure people handling the fireworks wear safety goggles to protect their eyes from flying sparks or debris.
- Don’t consume alcohol when using fireworks.
- Read the cautionary labels.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Follow label directions.
- Ignite fireworks outdoors.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Don’t try to relight fireworks that have not worked properly.
- Buy from reliable sellers.