Be Safe Around Fireworks

fireworksWhile fireworks can be fun to watch, they also pose danger for those setting them off and those around them. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in thousands of injuries treated in emergency departments each year. Many of those injuries are to children younger than 15.

"Don't ever let kids play with fireworks or sparklers," says Dina Morrissey, MD, MPH, program coordinator for the Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital and the Safe Kids Rhode Island coordinator. "The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them. Adults should never use fireworks when children are present."

Sparklers can reach 2,000° Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some types of metal. Children should never be allowed to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.

Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, may cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. "Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency. Also teach them what to do if their clothing catches on fire - 'stop, drop and roll,'" says Morrissey.

Sparklers can reach 2,000° Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some types of metal.

The Injury Prevention Center offers the following tips for fireworks safety:

  • Read all warnings and follow the instructions on fireworks' packages.
  • Stay away from fireworks that aren't clearly labeled with the name of the item, the manufacturer's name and instructions for proper use.
  • Make sure there is a responsible adult present when lighting fireworks.
  • If you've been drinking alcohol, don't use fireworks.
  • Don't hold sparklers. Instead, put them in the ground.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Don't put any type of fireworks or flammables near children. Sparklers can get as hot as 2,000° Fahrenheit.
  • Be sure other people and pets are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Only light fireworks in a cool place, on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry leaves and flammable materials.
  • Never re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never light fireworks that look defective.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy, and soak used fireworks for at least 10 minutes after igniting.
  • Wear safety goggles when handling pyrotechnics.
  • Never attempt to make your own fireworks and do not purchase or use any kits sold for making fireworks.

More about The Burn Center at Rhode Island Hospital