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Fireworks Safety Month: Ensuring a Safe Celebration

“The most important safety strategies involve making sure that children are supervised appropriately – that an adult is always there actually igniting the fireworks and seeing that all appropriate safety precautions are used.”
 
UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. – Fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day celebrations, but they also pose significant risks if not handled properly. Every year in the U.S., fireworks send thousands of children to the emergency room (ER), according to Safe Kids Worldwide. To prevent a fun celebration from turning into a trip to the ER, experts advise taking extra precautions.
 
Typical injuries and burns from fireworks tend to affect the extremities, such as hands, fingers, or legs, as well as the head and eyes. Sometimes these injuries are serious enough to require ER treatment, and some can even be fatal. Those hurt or killed are often children or bystanders.
 
"This time of year, we see several types of injuries related to fireworks. The most common are burns,” says Eric Maki, MD, Aspirus Emergency Medicine Physician. He notes sparklers as the main culprit: “They’re fun, and I know everybody enjoys them, especially kids, but they burn at extremely high temperatures. Even when the firework is finished, the residual sparkler stick remains hot and can still cause burns.”
 
The 2023 Fireworks Annual Report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports there were an estimated 9,700 injuries involving fireworks. Teenagers aged 15 to 19 had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries, with children aged five to nine having the second-highest rate.
 
"The most important safety strategies involve making sure that children are supervised appropriately – that an adult is always there actually igniting the fireworks and seeing that all appropriate safety precautions are used,” says Dr. Maki.
 
Aspirus Health and the CPSC urge everyone to celebrate safely this holiday by following these safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Have a designated adult supervise fireworks activities.
  • 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 try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Keep spectators at a safe distance from the fireworks.
 
By following these safety tips, families can enjoy the holiday while minimizing the risk of fireworks-related injuries. Stay safe and make this Independence Day memorable for all the right reasons.
 
Find more fireworks safety tips at cpsc.gov/fireworks.

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