Independence Day is celebrated across the U.S. each year with spectacular public fireworks displays, as well as smaller private ones. Each carries a potential for personal injury. As you prepare to celebrate this holiday season, we hope you’ll exercise good judgment in preventing injuries when possible, and by being prepared to respond should an accident occur. The following tips are offered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
- “Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal ‘safe’ firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
- Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.
- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don’t go off.
- Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
- Observe local laws.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.”
The National Fire Protection Association advises that in 2005, U.S. Emergency Rooms treated an estimated 10,800 people for fireworks-related injuries:
- “48% of 2005 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 44% were to the head.
- 54% of the 2005 fireworks injuries were burns, while 29% were contusions and lacerations.
- Nearly half of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
- The risk of fireworks injury was nearly three times as high for children ages 10-14 as for the general population.
- Sparklers, fountains, and novelties alone accounted for 26% of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2005.”
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