July 4th is fun, and the fireworks displays are beautiful, but this holiday sends thousands and thousands of people to the ER every year: In 2014 alone, emergency rooms reported:
- 10,500 injuries from fireworks.
- 7,000 injuries from fireworks in the 1-month period around July 4th.
- 11 deaths due to fireworks.
- That 1,200 of these injuries were to the eyes, and happened due to sparklers (1,400), firecrackers (1,400), and bottle rockets (100).
- That men comprised 74% of the injuries; women 26%.
- That 4% of the injuries happened to children under 15 years of age.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to let the pros do it. But if you can’t imagine July 4th without lighting a few fireworks at home, here are the Dos and Nevers of fireworks safety:
- Point the fireworks away from people, places, and things.
- Keep water nearby in case anything happens, and put water on spent fireworks.
- Make sure whoever is lighting fireworks off is wearing safety glasses.
- Light one firework at a time.
- Use fireworks in wide areas, and on dirt or cement if possible.
- Point fireworks at a person, even as a joke.
- Relight a firework that didn’t go off.
- Drink while handling or lighting fireworks.
- Buy or use fireworks that come in brown bags, as they could be illegal or dangerous.
- Light fireworks in dry grass.
Another “Do” is to have a first aid kit on hand in case an accident does happen. You should have the following in your first aid kit:
- Sterile saline: For cleaning eyes and/or affected areas.
- Sterile wraps: For wrapping the the wound while on way to get care.
- Aloe vera: Helpful for treating and alleviating pain from minor burns.
- Blunt scissors: For cutting clothing off the affected area.
Remember to always stay safe when using fireworks and most importantly, HAVE FUN!