Tips for a Safe 4th of July

It’s sweet summertime! One of my favorite times of the year! I’m not here to rain on your Fourth of July parade, but let’s talk firework safety so you can stay safe and keep enjoying those summer nights!

Each year typically between June and July, thousands of injuries occur due to fireworks. Despite the dangers, few people understand the associated risks due to fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2017, emergency room departments treated close to 13,000 individuals due to burns with 54% of injuries occurring in the hands and digits and 36% occurring to the head and face.

The top 3 kinds of fireworks that were commonly contributing to the injuries are firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers (sorry parents). Just to put in perspective, a cake bakes at 350 degrees F. Sparklers can burn anywhere from 1200 to 2000 degrees F. and 0ver 50% of sparkler injuries typically occur to children and teens. The best solution is to watch a local professional firework display, but if you find yourself needing to handle fireworks here are top 10 tips to keep you safe this holiday!

  1. Read all labels before using fireworks
  2. Ensure that others nearby are aware of plans to ignite fireworks and they are in a safe place
  3. Wear protective eyewear
  4. Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby for unexpected incidents
  5. Supervise children and teens near fireworks
  6. NEVER relight a dud firework
  7. NEVER lean over a firework when lighting or after lit (keep head and face away)
  8. NEVER hold onto a lit firework
  9. Dispose all fireworks properly by allowing used fireworks to soak in water for several hours before discarding
  10. Do not consume alcohol or other substances that would impair balance or judgement when using fireworks

We hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July!

About the Author: Julie Freiner OTR/L, CHT is a hand therapist practicing in the O’Fallon, MO and Wentzville, MO communities. She has a passion for helping to prevent unnecessary injuries through education and advocacy efforts.