Fireworks are an enjoyable part of Fourth of July celebrations. However, fireworks are dangerous, causing eye injuries and serious burns each year. Fireworks safety is important.
“Nationally, six people died and an estimated 8,700 people were reported injured as a result of fireworks in 2012,” said Sharon Gossman, APRN of Antelope Memorial Hospital. In Nebraska, 136 individuals were reported injured by fireworks last year. In 2013, one Nebraskan has thus far suffered catastrophic injury to include loss of vision. In general, injuries from fireworks usually involve the fingers, eyes, hands or head. Fireworks may also cause fires and extensive property damage.
Children, ages ten to fourteen, have the highest rate of injury, added Gossman. Nearly 90% of emergency room fireworks injuries involve fireworks consumers are permitted to use. The majority of injuries result from the misuse rather than the malfunction of fireworks. It’s recommended that children be well-supervised when using sparklers. The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
Antelope Memorial Hospital offers these tips to enjoy fireworks safely:
––Always buy from an established retail outlet
––Never allow children to play with or light fireworks
––Always read and follow label directions, using fireworks only outdoors
––Never throw or point fireworks at other people, being sure they are out of range
––Light only one firework at a time, while wearing eye protection and never exposing any part of your body over a firework
––Never re-light a “dud” firework
––Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers or carry them in your pocket
––Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy
––Have a responsible adult in charge.