The celebration that could leave you burned

June 27, 2016 | by Jonathan Gibson, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

It’s hard (and would be a little depressing) to have summer without fireworks.

Everyone fixes their eyes on the sky at dusk July 4, slushie or ice cream cone in hand, to watch the explosions of color lighting up the night.

But fireworks are just that – explosions – and should be handled with care.

Even seemingly harmless drug store fireworks, such as poppers, sparklers and the like, can cause serious injuries if they’re not used safely.

In 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission studied fireworks injuries in the month around July 4. They found that an average of 230 people go to an emergency room daily with fireworks-related injuries in the month around Independence Day.

There are a lot of websites that list safety precautions for fireworks. My advice? Leave the big explosives to the professionals and be cautious with the small stuff.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these valuable tips to avoid injury from fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

How do you celebrate Independence Day? Share your plans in the comments!

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