One activity everyone looks forward to during the summer is setting off fireworks. Kids love watching these colorful lights spark up the sky. As fun as fireworks are, they pose a severe threat to your kids. Each July, children and adults come into ExpressCare Urgent Care Centers with burn-related injuries.
The National Safety Council reported in 2017 that at least eight people died while 12,900 were badly harmed in firework-related-incidents. Fireworks can burn at temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees and are responsible for a variety of fires like vehicles and structures. When people aren’t careful with these festive explosives, they can injure the eyes, head, face, ears, arms, hands, fingers, and legs. Severe incidents can lead to debridement (removal of damaged skin), skin grafts (replacement of damaged skin), amputations, and blindness.
According to the Baltimore County Government, backyard fireworks are illegal in the state of Maryland, except for some hand-held and some ground-based sparkler devices. Both fireworks and sparklers are not legal in Baltimore City and some surrounding counties like Harford County, Howard County, and Prince George. People who prefer to purchase and use fireworks on their property must have proper insurance and a permit.
It’s best to leave firework displays to the professionals and spread awareness of the dangerous risks they pose to others. On the other hand, for people who live in states and cities where purchasing consumer fireworks are legal, you should take extreme caution when lighting them in your yard.
Keep a safe distance. Fireworks can harm anyone within a wide area. When lighting them, don’t stand over the fireworks—back up after igniting them. Make sure you are outside and away from other homes, bushes, trees, and flammable materials. Never light more than one at a time. Look out for those nearby who use fireworks as they could backfire on you.
Buy legal fireworks. Always buy fireworks with appropriate packaging and label. Be cautious of the ones wrapped in a brown paper without a name, as they may be for professional use only and could pose a threat if used by consumers, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Don’t let your kids play with them. Never allow your children to play with or light sparklers alone. Kids and teenagers should always have an adult present. Don’t let your kids pick up any leftover fireworks after they’ve been lit, according to Kids Health from Nemours. Some may still be ignited and cause an explosion.
Use water. When all fireworks are finished burning, use a hose or a bucket to drench them in water. The water will cool any pieces that might still be ignited and prevent risks of fires. Parents should also have hoses ready for accidents or injuries that may occur.