Everyone loves a big, explosive display, but no one loves a trip to the ER.
Independence Day is the biggest time of year for fireworks, but roman candles, spinners, and more big boomers are staples of the barbecue circuit all summer long. While you're having all that fun, it's important to keep safety in the forefront. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 60% of all firework injuries in 2013 were sustained during the 30 days surrounding July 4th. Typical injuries include burns to the hands, eyes, face, and legs.
What to Know Before You Light 'Em
Most fireworks injuries are caused by misuse or unexpected ignition. If you're setting off fireworks, it's crucial to remember these key safety guidelines:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Always read and follow the directions.
- Onlookers should keep a safe distance from the person igniting the fireworks.
- Never relight a failed firework, and do not go near it. Wait at least 20 minutes before placing it in a bucket of water to extinguish it fully.
- After fireworks have burnt out, douse them with plenty of water before discarding them to prevent a trash fire.
Sparkler Smarts: Keep the Kids Safe
If big, booming fireworks aren't quite your thing, sparklers are a tamer go-to. But while they're easy to light and fun to watch, sparklers can be just as dangerous. From June 22, 2012 to July 22, 2012, there were more than 600 reported injuries from sparklers alone. Unlike firecrackers, they burn slowly at temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees.
Before you light your sparklers, make sure you have:
- A bucket of water or a hose
- A clear, flat area away from houses, spectators, leaves, and flammable materials
- Closed-toe shoes
And be sure to adhere to these tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Sparkler holders should be standing up, not sitting down.
- Never pass an already lit sparkler.
- Lighting more than one stick at a time is dangerous.
- Everyone using a sparkler should be at least six feet from one another.
- While it may seem festive to wave a sparkler, that's a big no-no.
- Sparklers aren't batons. Never toss or throw them.
- The stick can remain hot long after the flame is gone; dispose of it in a bucket of water.
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping