Independence Day, or Fourth of July, in the U.S. is a time to celebrate the country’s birth and, for many, this means watching amazing, patriotic displays of fireworks or even enjoying festivities with pyrotechnics in hand. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns revelers to put safety first.

On average, 280 people land in the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the holiday. Adults ages 20 to 44 make up nearly half (43 percent) of the injuries. The specified products that cause the most injuries are sparklers (14 percent), reloadable shells (12 percent), and firecrackers (10 percent). The CPSC offers safety tips including:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers. Leave professional fireworks to the professionals.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishaps.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Light fireworks one at a time and back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

Here is a short video produced by CPSC that shows the dramatic results of handling fireworks unsafely:

Remember to check the laws regarding purchasing and using fireworks in your area.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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