Summer means picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays, especially around the 4th of July. Summer also means an increase in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires and fireworks. In 2011, an estimated 9,600 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, 36 percent of whom were under 15 years old.
Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of fireworks injuries than the general population. About a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks in hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season:
• Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source.
• Use fireworks as directed on consumer product safety label; never alter products.
• Observe local laws and use good COMMON SENSE.
• Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
• A responsible ADULT should supervise all firework activities.
• Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
• Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; AWAY from buildings and vehicles.
• NEVER carry fireworks in your POCKET.
• Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
• Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
• Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
• Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor trash can.
• Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.