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One of the many joys of summer is the magnificent wonder of fireworks. However, if not handled properly, fireworks can cause serious injury. Fireworks have led to thousands of emergency room visits in recent years; more than half were in children.

The best way to prevent harm to your family is to avoid using fireworks at home altogether. Enjoying public fireworks displays is a fun and safe way to enjoy the spectacle of fireworks. However, if you plan to use fireworks, following these tips can minimize the risk for you and your family.

  • Make sure it’s legal!  – Check with your local police department.  Never buy illegal fireworks. 
  • Sparklers can melt gold!  –  Sparklers burn at +1200 degrees. These are not safe for little ones.  Most of the time, their arms are just too short.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing and pull back long hair.
  • Have a “safe zone”  –  Store all fireworks away from lighters, punks or other ignitables.  Choose a “lighting zone” far away from the safe zone to avoid accidental ignition.
  • Prepare for an accident  –  Have a fire extinguisher, first aid kit and cell phone ready at all times.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby  –  Douse used fireworks in water before disposing of them. If there is a dud, an adult should place it water.  Never relight a dud.
  • If an injury occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

Common sense can keep us happy and healthy on the Fourth. For more info, check out the following links:

http://www.kidshealth.org/en/parents/fireworks.html

http://www.safekids.org/tip/fireworks-safety-tips?/gclid=CJnF2-Pbuc0CFQIOaQod8DkOdA

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/Pages/Keeping-Safe-From-Burns.aspx

Devin St. Clair

M.D. Candidate, Class of 2018

University of Missouri School of Medicine