Fireworks 101: A Safety Refresher

7/2/2014

Some say it wouldn't be the Fourth of July without fireworks - a tradition that injures more than 10,000 Americans each year, of which almost half are children. Fireworks may be beautiful, but they're best seen and heard from a distance, according to Beaumont doctors.

"Many people recognize the dangers of the bigger fireworks, but surprisingly, even sparklers can be dangerous for children," says Jeffrey Ditkoff, M.D., Emergency Medicine specialist at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. "Parents are more apt to let their child handle sparklers, but they can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees. Their mishandling can result in serious injuries, including burns, clothing fires and puncture wounds."

Dr. Ditkoff encourages patriotic celebrants to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Check the media listings to determine which communities in your area will host fireworks displays and enjoy some of those. There is no such thing as completely "safe" fireworks.

The American College of Emergency Physicians strongly suggests individuals not use fireworks at home. However, realizing many will choose to do so, offers this list of do's and don'ts that can help make it a safer experience.

DO:

  • Buy legal fireworks from a reputable dealer
  • Read warning labels and follow all instructions
  • Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher on hand
  • Light fireworks one at a time
  • Dispose of all fireworks properly

DON'T:

  • Give any fireworks, including sparklers, to small children; older children should be supervised by an adult
  • Light fireworks indoors or near other objects
  • Wear loose clothing while using any fireworks
  • Set of fireworks in glass or metal containers- the fragments can cause severe injury
  • Try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks