Fourth of July Safety Tips
By Hank Bernstein, D.O., Harvard Health Publications
Each year, especially during the early summer weeks around the Fourth of July, thousands of people are treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. While some are minor, many of these injuries are serious, for example, resulting in burns or blindness. In 2008, seven deaths from fireworks-related injuries were reported; perhaps these could have been prevented.
- Never allow children to touch fireworks of any kind, including sparklers even after they have "gone off". It can be hot, or even explosive and debris from fireworks can be extremely dangerous.
- Older teens should only be allowed to use fireworks under close adult supervision.
- Fireworks must never be used while drinking alcohol or using other drugs.
- Obey all local laws.
- If allowed in your area and you choose to do so, buy fireworks only from reliable sellers.
- Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.
- Only use fireworks outdoors and always have a good amount of water close by (a garden hose and a bucket), in case of emergency.
- Read and follow label directions.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never hold any part of your body directly over the firework while lighting it.
- Be sure all other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at anyone.
- Never light fireworks in a container, especially a metal or glass container.
- Never light fireworks near a house or building, dry leaves or grass, or any other materials that can catch on fire.
- Never re-light a "dud" firework. Instead, wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water and throw it away.