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8 ways to avoid fireworks injuries

The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. It’s our nation’s birthday, and most people like to top off the celebration with fireworks. Although fireworks are fun and colorful, they can be dangerous to everyone around.

On average, about 200 people will go to the ER with fireworks-related injuries each day around the Fourth of July holiday, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Most of the injuries we see involve burns,” said Dr. Natalie Lane, Medical Director of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia Emergency Department. “For example, a sparkler can burn as hot as a blow torch; and, unfortunately, we have had to treat children with sparkler burns several times. But these are avoidable injuries, if families will carefully follow safety procedures.”

Here are some tips Dr. Lane recommends to help keep your July 4 fun:

  1. Always read and follow directions on the label carefully.
  2. Adults should always supervise young children when around fireworks. Even sparklers, which are assumed to be safe, should be supervised, as they can reach to 1000 degrees, and can cause severe burns.
  3. If a firework is deemed a “dud” after not going off once lighted, do not stand near it to see what’s wrong. Instead, wait 15-20 minutes; then put the “dud” out with water and dispose of it.
  4. Never shoot fireworks off in metal or glass containers. Instead light them outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, leaves, or other flammable materials.
  5. Always keep some type of water source on hand in case of fire. A large bucket of water or garden hose will do the trick.
  6. Light fireworks one at a time. Lighting multiple fireworks simultaneously could result in the person setting the fireworks to catching fire or being hit by a firework that goes off early.
  7. Do not use fireworks where prohibited by law. However, if they are legal in your area, be sure to buy them from a reputable seller.
  8. Pets have very sensitive ears, and the booms and bangs associated with a fireworks display can be quite uncomfortable and painful—particularly to dogs—so leave pets at home.

The 154-bed CHOG is the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children.