|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
Fireworks: Handle With Care
Fireworks safety starts before a firework is even sold: It begins with the manufacturers, who need to follow strict quality controls in making their products. That doesn't mean every firework is guaranteed to be safe, though. Things can go wrong with fireworks, just as they can with any product, and most of the time it's because the fireworks aren't handled properly. That's the reason you see all those warnings on fireworks.
Thousands of people are taken to hospital emergency rooms in the United States every year because of injuries from fireworks — including bottle rockets, sparklers, and firecrackers.
The most common fireworks injuries involve the hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face. Some of these injuries are severe, resulting in permanent health problems such as missing fingers and limbs and vision loss.
So what can you do to enjoy the Fourth of July and still stay safe? Going to public fireworks displays is the best approach. Not only are these displays bigger and brighter (the federal government bans the sale of the largest fireworks to the public), but many states have laws that don't allow people to buy or use fireworks. Before using fireworks, find out what the laws are in your area. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides more information about state and federal regulations on its website.
Tips to Remember
If you live in a state that allows fireworks and you're planning a do-it-yourself celebration, follow these safety tips to protect yourself and the people watching:
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD