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Fireworks are a large part of many people’s Fourth of July celebrations and have become an American tradition. While fireworks can be fun, they can also be very dangerous. Every year thousands of people get hurt using fireworks. Additionally, fireworks are illegal in many parts of the United States, so check the local law before using or purchasing fireworks.

The best way to keep you and your family safe is to attend public firework displays. Leaving fireworks to the professionals ensures that your family enjoys fireworks without the risk. However, if you are planning on using fireworks at home this Fourth of July, make sure to follow these safety tips:

  • Do not wear loose clothing
  • Wear eye protection
  • Point fireworks away from home
  • Never throw or point fireworks at someone
  • Only buy legal fireworks and never try to make your own fireworks
  • Never let children handle fireworks
  • Keep a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting it
  • Back up a safe distance after lighting the firework
  • Do not try to relight fireworks that did not fully ignite
  • Light one firework at a time
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never handle fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs

If fireworks are not handled properly, they can cause severe burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 180 people go to the emergency room every day for fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding the Fourth of July. Around 44 percent of these injuries are burns and the most common place of injury is the hands.

Even sparklers, which are often given to children, can be dangerous and cause harm. Sparklers burn at around 2000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can set fire to clothing and can cause severe burns when they are accidentally dropped on the feet. Make sure to keep sparklers away from the face, clothes, and hair. Additionally, parents should supervise children using sparklers at all times.

If an injury from fireworks does occur, go to the hospital immediately. If the injury is to the eye, do not rub the eye, flush the eye with water, or put any ointment on it. This can make the injury worse and cause more damage. Do not wait to seek medical treatment for any fireworks-related injury. While the Fourth of July is a fun day of celebration, it is important to take the proper precautions to keep you and your loved ones safe.