4th of July Family Firework Safetyby Elizabeth MacDonald
This summer is looking quite different than all previous summers we have known. There will be little to no large public firework displays to celebrate the Fourth of July. While that brings tears to our eyes, we know that families everywhere will still be gathering, hosting BBQs, and lighting fireworks of their own.
Fireworks are the number one reason people of all ages end up in the emergency room the week of July 4th. Not that you would ever enjoy a trip to the hospital due to an explosive device, but with the possible spreading virus it is definitely not where you want to be.
The biggest thing to remember before setting off your fireworks is that they are dangerous to everyone around, including infants and children. Even when handling them responsibly, accidents happen.
- Only one person is to light a firework at a time.
- Only one firework should be lit at a time.
- Do not assume an explosive is a ‘dud.’
- NEVER RELIGHT A FIREWORK.
- Wait 2 minutes and then pour water over the firework to ensure it will not ignite.
- Keep a bucket of water within reach and place all finished fireworks in it.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothing around fireworks.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Point them away from homes, bushes, leaves, and people.
- Remember that they can backfire, so note things in all directions.
- Stand several feet away from the fireworks.
- Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
Note: The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
Sparklers are fireworks. They are NOT toys. Sparklers can burn up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt gold. They can cause serious injuries, including blindness and severe burns. Please do not allow children to use them unsupervised, and always talk to your children about firework safety prior to use.
Young children’s arms are too short to hold sparklers, please let them watch or play by spinning glow sticks instead.
- Never put them in your pocket
- Never pick one up off the floor
- Make sure an adult is always present
- Light them one at a time
- Wear gloves
- Hold them at arm's length
- When it goes out, place the hot end in a bucket of water. Otherwise, it could still burn you.
If Injury Occurs
If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If it is a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). Call your doctor immediately or call 911.
Prevent Blindness America recommends the following if the eyes are injured:
If there are specks in the eye,
- DO NOT rub the eye.
- Use eyewash or let tears wash out specks or particles;
- Lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid;
- If the speck doesn’t wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage, and see a doctor or go to the emergency room.
- DO NOT wash out the eye with water.
- DO NOT try to remove an object stuck in the eye.
- Cover the eye with a rigid shield without pressure. The bottom half of a paper cup may be used. Visit a doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
For more information on fireworks safety, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org. **REMINDER: Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer's name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled), and store them in a cool, dry place. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarter pounder. These explosives were banned in 1966 but still account for many fireworks injuries.