No Playing Around

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Fireworks Do’s and Don’ts

Fireworks related injuries are on the rise despite consumer education about the dangers. This is according to the results of a Special Study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for the year 2015. That year alone there were 11 fatalities. In addition, there were 11,900 injuries involving fireworks treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Eight thousand of these occurred in the 1-month period surrounding the 4th of July.
Boys had a somewhat higher rate of injuries than girls, 61% to 39% respectively. The groups with the highest rate of emergency room treated injuries were ages 15 to19 followed by 5 to 9-year-olds. Still, children in other age groups and even adults suffer a fair share of injuries each year. Adults over 25 years of age in all age groups constitute 46% of fireworks related injuries.

The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, coordinated by the National Fire Protection Association urges the public to play it safe and forego the use of fireworks and instead enjoy fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals. This seems like sound advice. Still, it is not something everyone will adhere to.
So be cognizant of the safety tips recommended by such organizations as The National Council on Fireworks Safety, SafeKids.org, and the National Safety Council.

  • Abide by local laws regarding fireworks.
  • Read all information that comes with the fireworks before igniting them. If none is available, research online.
  • Do not allow young children to handle fireworks. Sparklers heat up to 2,000 degrees and are responsible for serious injuries every year.
  • Always closely supervise older children using fireworks.
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of fire or to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off.
  • Never try to re-light a firework that doesn’t work. Wait 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Never shoot them out of glass or metal containers.
  • Do not use homemade fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting them off.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pockets.
  • Never aim fireworks toward another person or animal.
  • Light them one at a time and then move away quickly.
  • Do not drink or use drugs prior to or while igniting fireworks.
  • Let off fireworks only in clear areas away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Keep fireworks stored in a cool place.
  • Keep pets and animals away from the sound of the fireworks.

Finally, the advent of camera phones and the popularity of social media has encouraged fireworks pranks. Kids, and even sometimes adults, think they can safely prank a friend or family member by igniting a firework in close proximity. Despite seeing videos in which no one was injured, the risk is high, and often does lead to injury. Make sure children and teens understand that fireworks pranks should never be done and can result in serious injury.

Kimberly Blaker, of Michigan, is a realtor and an author and freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in more than 200 newspapers, parenting and women’s magazines, and other publications throughout the U.S

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