Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips – Straight from the Experts

Last updated on June 25th, 2017 at 11:48 pm

It’s that time of year again: time to get together with friends, host backyard barbecues, cook up some hotdogs and hamburgers, sip a cool beverage and end the day gathered around watching fireworks. Sounds perfect, right? Unfortunately, according to the National Fire Protection Association in 2015 alone, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries and one-quarter of the injured (26%) were less than 15 years old.*

How and Why Do These Injuries Occur?

  • Fireworks type: Among the various types of fireworks, some of which are sold legally in some states, bottle rockets can fly into peoples’ faces and cause eye injuries; sparklers can ignite clothing; and firecrackers can injure the hands or face if they explode at close range.
  • Being too close: Injuries may result from being too close to fireworks when they explode; for example, when someone leans over to look more closely at a firework that has been ignited, or when a misguided bottle rocket hits a nearby person.
  • Lack of physical coordination: Younger children often lack the physical coordination to handle fireworks safely – even sparklers! Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. But facts are that sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals and enough to cause a serious burn
  • Curiosity: Children are often excited and curious around fireworks, which can increase their chances of being injured (for example, when they re-examine a firecracker dud that initially fails to ignite).
  • Experimentation: Homemade fireworks (for example, ones made of the powder from several firecrackers) can lead to dangerous and unpredictable explosions.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not here to talk doom and gloom when it comes to 4th of July fireworks. It really can be the perfect ending to an already perfect day…providing we’re careful and follow these key fireworks safety rules:

Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips:

  1. Use fireworks outdoors only. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks including sparklers. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
  3. Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  4. Be careful when lighting the fuse.  Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back up to a safe distance
  5. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  6. Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them. They can kill you!
  7. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  8. Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
  9. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
  10. Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy, fun and safe 4th of July

References

  • Fireworks Safety” – National Fire Protection Association
  • Fireworks Safety” – US Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Safety Tips” – The National Council on Fireworks Safety
  • *Data referenced updated 6/25/17

About the Author

Stefanie Zucker is President and co-founder of Pediatric Medical Devices and Managing Director and co-founder of Axios Partners, a strategy consulting firm. After a number of years spent researching the safety issues associated with transporting children on ambulances she became a child health safety advocate and formed Pediatric Safety with a goal of creating a world-wide movement of parents and caregivers inspired to protect the health and safety of kids.Stefanie is a member of the PedSafe Team

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    2. […] This year’s campaign to lower the number of injuries focuses on disseminating information on the possibilities if one keeps playing with firecrackers. LH Prime Cebu has seen hundreds of injuries every year by the start of December. As DOH increases the campaign as they celebrate Firecrackers Injury Prevention Month on December 1, let us all join in ensuring that this information is shared. Read on to know a few of the ways to handle firecrackers safely according to Pediatrics Safety: […]



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