Enjoy the Fireworks — and Stay Safe

What would the Fourth of July be without fireworks?

A lot safer, no doubt.

Every year, injuries from fireworks — often burns to the hands and face — send thousands of Americans to hospital emergency departments. And while Independence Day is the most popular time for fireworks, people set them off at other times too, making fireworks a year-round safety concern.

The best way to avoid being burned or injured from fireworks is to resist the temptation to explode them yourself — and to enjoy them only at public events conducted by trained professionals. Even then, be sure not to let children pick up any fireworks that might be left over after the show — they could still be active.

But if you do decide to use fireworks, always follow these do's and don'ts.

Do:

  • Buy fireworks from reputable dealers.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in the area where you use them.
  • Read warning labels and follow all directions.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly—let them stop burning completely, then douse them with plenty of water before discarding them.

Don't:

  • Let young children play with or ignite any fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers can cause third-degree burns.
  • Let older children use fireworks without adult supervision.
  • Bend over fireworks when lighting the fuse.
  • Try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
  • Set off fireworks in glass or metal containers.

Sources: American College of Emergency Physicians; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
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