Happy Independence Day! The Fourth of July is officially here, meaning many will be out purchasing and using fireworks to celebrate tonight, and likely throughout the weekend. Fireworks are undoubtedly exciting and beautiful to watch, but it’s important to remember the dangers they pose to both adults and children alike.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 300 people visit emergency centers across the nation every day during this holiday weekend with firework-related injuries.
Children should not handle fireworks. This includes sparklers, firecrackers, roman candles, novelties, bottle rockets and public displays. Even sparklers are dangerous – they burn at temperatures between 1,800 and 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit! If you’re planning to use sparklers with your family this Fourth of July, it’s recommended to avoid giving sparklers to children under 5 years of age.
Fireworks should only be used outdoors, away from any buildings, homes and vehicles. Make sure to read all instructions and labels before use. It’s important to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes, and to also keep a bucket of water, a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby. If a firework doesn’t go off, wait 20 minutes and soak it in water; don’t try to relight it. Only light one firework at a time to ensure you can move away from the area quickly after lighting. Once the firework is done burning, submerge the product in water before throwing it in the trash. If you’re under the influence of alcohol, you should not be handling fireworks – this is never OK.
Consider the following tips:
- Check to make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and read all related guidelines.
- Don’t allow a child to handle fireworks. If you’re using sparklers, do not give one to a child under 5 years of age.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Don’t wear loose clothing while lighting fireworks, and never light near dry grass, brush, leaves or other flammable substances.
- Never try to set fireworks off inside glass or metal containers.
- Do not transport fireworks in your pockets.
- Make sure the fireworks you’ve purchased are legal and consumer-grade.
- Don’t try to use professional fireworks yourself. These are typically packaged in brown paper.