The beginning of July brings the excitement of upcoming fireworks displays at Independence Day celebrations, special nights at local parks, and the excitement of upcoming famous firework shows, such as those at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The beauty and magic of these shows are due to specially trained individuals, who know how to make these events occur safely.
Sadly, in July, injuries often occur to individuals who are not specially trained but those who often are seeking to have a good time and celebrate.
In 2020, 18 people died from fireworks and 15,600 people were treated in ER’s from firework injuries – 1600 injuries from firecrackers and an additional 900 from sparklers.
44% of injuries were due to burns – most commonly on hands, fingers, head, face, eyes, and ears.
First and foremost, make sure the fireworks you are planning to use are legal in your area. Different states and jurisdictions have different laws about what is allowable or legal.
In order to stay out of the emergency rooms and free of injuries, follow these important safety tips:
- Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Never try to re-light or pickup fireworks that have not fully ignited.
- Never light a firework inside a home or building.
- Only light one firework at a time and then move back quickly.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose close by, in case of fire or other mishap.
- Never aim a or throw fireworks at another person.
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Always ensure that there is plenty of space around the firework, not near a house or structure.
- Always remember to soak used fireworks in water before disposing into a trash receptacle.
Another common way of celebrating is using sparklers – which children frequently use. Did you know that sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees? This is hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers will certainly ignite clothing.
Injuries from sparklers account for more than 25% of emergency room visits from firework injuries. Children can be burned on various parts of their bodies from sparklers, especially their feet if the sparkler is dropped. When having celebrations, consider using safer, kid-friendly alternatives such as colored streamers, or glow sticks.
Lastly, while everyone is out celebrating the season, remember that not everyone is a fan of fireworks. Pets have sensitive ears and can be very frightened and stressed by the loud noises. Keep pets indoors so they don’t run away and do not tie up pets outside, they can become injured by trying to get away from the noise.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!
Nemous Kids Health (n.d.) Fireworks safety. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/fireworks.html
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (n.d.) Fireworks. https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks
Blog submitted by:
Kelly Llewellyn, MSN, RN
Injury Prevention/EMS Specialist
Safe Kids Washington County Co – Coordinator