As we approach the Fourth of July, I can’t help but notice the increase in road-side tents, filled to the edges with boxes and bags. And I don’t mean the garage sales. The tents are filled with fireworks.
You might be wondering about fireworks safety? If so, remember that the best way to stay safe with fireworks is to not use them at home. Watching a public fireworks display is much safer!
“Children should never play with fireworks and even sparklers should be discouraged,” said LouAnne Giangreco, M.D., Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “It is better for everyone to leave fireworks to the professionals.”
Staying safe this holiday could even include starting other fun traditions, she added, with safer toys such as glow sticks, necklaces, fun hats and wind spinners!
But if fireworks are legal in your area, and you want to use them, here are five tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
1. Sparklers are Still Fireworks
You may think sparklers are safe for kids. But they do get very hot – hot enough to even burn some metals! – and can cause injury. Sparklers cause 19 percent of firework injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. If using sparklers, be sure to follow the directions, use proper eye protection and maintain a safe distance. If a child is burned, remove clothing from the burned area and call your doctor immediately.
2. Reign in the Troops
With the excitement of the holidays, kids tend to goof off. Make sure the kids know the dangers of fireworks. Stress the importance of safety. Even pointing fireworks at others as a joke is dangerous. Establish “firework rules,” such as steering clear of the adults as they set off the fireworks. If an eye injury occurs, do not touch or rub it or flush the eye out with water. Get medical care right away.
3. Don’t Buy Illegal Fireworks
If you’re buying fireworks, make sure you’re buying the legal kind. Legal fireworks show labels with the manufacturer’s name, as well as clear directions. Unlabeled fireworks are illegal, according to KidsHealth.org, and don’t be fooled by names like M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarter-pounder.
4. Be Safe, Not Sorry
Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, this tends to be a sign it was made for a professional display, not a small backyard celebration.
Also, check that it is legal to purchase fireworks in your area. If you live in upstate New York, here’s more information from some local newspapers:
5. Don’t Skip the Small Stuff
Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. A wet firework could be harder to light, which can cause irregular explosions.
Never relight a firework. It can be disappointing not to see your favorite explosion go off, but it’s not worth the risk of a random explosion during an attempted relight.
Also, keep a bucket of water and a hose nearby, just in case.
The Last Word
So as you consider the types of fun you can have on July 4th, don’t forget to check out local fireworks shows for a safer – and just as enjoyable – holiday alternative.
For more safety tips, visit the following sites: