Fireworks Safety Tips: Preventing Injuries
Brad Winfrey, Manager of the Center for Childhood Safety and Injury Prevention
It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks, but fireworks can be extremely dangerous to children. Before starting your holiday celebrations, here’s some things to keep in mind.
Sparklers may seem safe for your kids, but they can burn up to 2000 degrees. That’s hot enough to melt some metals! The problem is most kids like to wave sparkers near their face and close to their bodies, which can cause severe eye and facial burns, along with the potential for clothing and hair to catch on fire.
Roman candles have been attributed to burns and severe injuries to the hand. Bottle rockets, which are always popular, are known to cause eye, face, and hand injuries.
When working as emergency department nurse, I saw many children with serious firework injuries ranging from burns, amputations and severe eye injuries caused by fireworks – all of which could have been avoided. My advice – leave fireworks to the professionals. There are plenty of fireworks shows around the Kansas City metro you can take your family to see.
If you do decide to set off fireworks, follow these safety tips designed with kids in mind:
- Do not permit children to handle fireworks.
- Check to make sure children don't have fireworks given to them by friends or other kids.
- Do not use or make homemade fireworks.
- Do not open fireworks.
- Do not misuse fireworks.
- Supervise all use of fireworks.
- Only use fireworks outdoors.
- Have a designated single shooter for firework ignition. Read all labels/warnings/instructions.
- Never hold a firework that is not meant to be held.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never relight a firework that does not go off. Wait 20 minutes before handling it and place it in bucket of water.
- Have a bucket of water and hose ready to put out any fires.
- Used fireworks should be soaked in water, placed in a nonflammable trash can away from any flammable objects.
While I don’t recommend children play with fireworks, if you do allow children to use fireworks, please be nearby, cautious and constantly have an adult supervise all activities closely.
Learn more about the Center for Childhood Safety at Children’s Mercy.