Keeping Fireworks Safe and Fun
While the fourth of July is still several weeks away, summer is officially in season—and the skies will soon be ablaze with brilliant colors. But it’s important to stay safe while enjoying your summer explosions. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 21,692 people were treated for injuries related to fireworks in 2011.
“Many people view these mini explosives as harmless, when in fact they can be very dangerous to people of all ages,” says orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson William Obremskey, MD. “Take it from one who picked up a “dud” as a kid and suffered minor burns. You can also lose a finger, damage your eyes or worse. To avoid injury, people should not use fireworks at home, but instead find a park or outdoor location that showcases fireworks.”
There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy fireworks this summer without putting yourself or your family at risk. In an effort to reduce the number and severity of firework-related injuries, the Academy offers some safety guidelines for adults who do choose to use fireworks:
• Check with your local police department to determine if fireworks can be discharged legally in your area. If so, determine which types are legal.
• Never buy or use illegal fireworks. Their quality cannot be assured.
• Only adults should light fireworks.
• Never hold lighted fireworks with your hand or place them near the body.
• Always have water handy in case of a fire. For example, a hose hooked to a faucet or a bucket of water.
• Read the caution label on packaging before igniting.
• Wear safety eyewear when using fireworks.
• Soak used fireworks in water before discarding.
• Never try to relight a firework.
• If you are injured using fireworks, seek immediate medical attention.
• Never allow young children to play with or go near fireworks, including sparklers. They
seem harmless but sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
• Never handle fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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