The 4th of July wouldn’t be the same without backyard barbecues, parades, and of course, fireworks! While firework displays are a great way to celebrate, make sure you and everyone in your family know about firework safety. Even the smallest fireworks (yes, sparklers included!) can send someone to the ER.
Unfortunately, there are no such things as “safe” fireworks. If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in both kids and adults. Over 30 percent of the 5,200 injuries from fireworks each year happen to children—most of which are from sparklers, novelty devices, and aerial devices. These injuries include burns, lacerations, and even partial finger amputations. The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend a local public firework displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
If you do choose to use fireworks at home, here are a few safety guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association to follow:
- Always check local laws and regulations. Anything that’s banned is also unregulated, which means it could be dangerous. Also, don’t purchase any professional-grade products to use at home. You’ll know a product isn’t meant for home use, because it won’t have colorful packaging or safety labeling meant for consumers and may instead look generic or be sold in a brown paper bag.
- Don’t let kids touch or light fireworks. While some fireworks–like sparklers–may seem harmless, they can cause serious injury. In fact, sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees which is equal to a blow torch and is hot enough to melt some metals.
- Plan ahead. Before you light any fireworks at home, make sure to have a bucket of water or garden hose ready. Always light fireworks one at a time and never try to get close or relight a firework that fails to go off.
- Be smart! Never throw fireworks or point them toward another person. Also don’t shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- Prevent fires. After a firework is finished, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash or grass fire.
If you get burned by fireworks, you may also need the professionals to treat your injuries. Second-degree burns are characterized by blisters, swollen skin, and significant pain, according to Dr. Greg Hadden, medical director at Five Star ER-Dripping Springs. Run the injured area under cool water (not ice water) to relieve pain and reduce heat, then apply antibiotic ointment and loosely bandage with clean gauze. More serious second- and third-degree burns require an ER evaluation and may even warrant referral to a specialist.
Enjoying fireworks and relaxing in the great outdoors are part of summer fun. But if things end up a little less than fun, we’re here to help. We’ll get you in and out and feeling better fast, because your emergency matters to us! Find the Five Star ER location nearest you
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About Five Star ER
Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30 years. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.
Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER. From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes. Find the location nearest you.
This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.