Summer and fireworks are tied together, entwined with barbecues, warm nights, and watermelon. The Fourth of July is a highlight for my family with time spent at the park watching professional fireworks light up the night sky. Unfortunately, the sight of firetrucks and ambulances zipping down the street, sirens blaring, is also tied into the holiday.
How can you stay safe around fireworks? And how can we do our part to make the holidays like New Years, and fireworks in particular, safer for us and our kids? Here are some of the dangers of fireworks, as well as some firework safety tips (for Parents)
What Are the Dangers of Fireworks?
Fireworks are dangerous. They can cause serious burns or eye injuries. Even sparklers, which are widely considered safer, burn at 2,000 degrees. That’s hot enough to burn some metals and can easily burn our kids. More than 3,000 children under the age of 15 are sent to the ER in the US. In 2019, 10,000 injuries were treated in hospitals. In 2018, 19,500 fires were started by fireworks.
How Can You Stay Safe Around Fireworks?
Start by where you are going to light your fireworks. You might wonder: Is it safe to shoot fireworks in your backyard? You can, as long as the environment is safe. Here’s what should be kept away from lit fireworks: any flammable material, trees, shrubs, or any dry vegetation; bark, woodchips, or grass that isn’t thoroughly soaked with water before lighting. . Keep that water nearby for during and after your show.
Talk with your neighbors and give them warning that you’re going to light fireworks. This way they can take care of their pets, or themselves, if they have adverse reactions to fireworks. Make sure to take care of your own pets as well.
What Care Should be Taken by Children to Light Fireworks?
Designate who will light the fireworks. Children should never light fireworks. Instead, pick one or two responsible adults to be your lighters. They should avoid drinking alcohol and be completely sober while lighting the fireworks. They should wear eye protection and be able to move quickly to get clear of lit fireworks. Never aim a firework toward another person and stand clear when another person is lighting. Children should stay away from the lighting area and lighting tools.
Where to Light Fireworks
Never light fireworks inside a container or bucket. They should be placed on a level surface and secured either by a stake or by cinder blocks. Avoid hills or uneven ground. If the firework doesn’t light, don’t attempt to relight it. Keep clear of the dud for at least ten minutes and then soak with water and dispose of it. What else should be kept away from lit fireworks? Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, or propane tanks are extremely dangerous. Keep them away from open flame.
What about the fireworks themselves? Check your local firework laws to make sure you can light them in your area. Never purchase illegal fireworks. Only use fireworks with clear, big labels.
What if someone gets hurt?
If someone is burned, immediately run the wound under cool (not cold), clean water. Call 911 for professional help. Place a clean, dry towel over the wound. Never touch the wound or break any blisters that form. Don’t put lotions, ointments, or creams on the wound. There’s a temptation to jump into a pool, lake, or pond of water to cool off, but avoid it. You can get an infection from dirty water.
If something lodges in the eyes, call 911 and cover both eyes. If someone catches on fire, remind them: stop, drop, and roll to put out the flame. Never jump into a lake or other body of water as it may lead to infection.
Fireworks might sound a little more stressful, but now that you know the dangers of fireworks, you know what to do to make your holiday safe.
Looking for an alternative but still want to keep the holiday magic? Go to a professional firework show and give your kids some glow sticks. Let’s keep our kids safe this summer.
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