July 4th is fun, and the fireworks displays are beautiful, but this holiday sends thousands and thousands of people to the ER every year: In 2014 alone, emergency rooms reported:
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- 10,500 injuries from fireworks.
- 7,000 injuries from fireworks in the 1-month period around July 4th.
- 11 deaths due to fireworks.
- That 1,200 of these injuries were to the eyes, and happened due to sparklers (1,400), firecrackers (1,400), and bottle rockets (100).
- That men comprised 74% of the injuries; women 26%.
- That 4% of the injuries happened to children under 15 years of age.
But if you can’t imagine July 4th without lighting a few fireworks at home, here are are the Dos and Nevers of fireworks safety: DO:
- Point the fireworks away from people, places, and things.
- Keep water nearby in case anything happens, and put water on spent fireworks.
- Make sure whoever is lighting fireworks off is wearing safety glasses.
- Light one firework at a time.
- Use fireworks in wide areas, and on dirt or cement if possible.
- Point fireworks at a person, even as a joke.
- Relight a firework that didn’t go off.
- Drink while handling or lighting fireworks.
- Buy or use fireworks that come in brown bags, as they could be illegal or dangerous.
- Light fireworks in dry grass.
Another “Do” is to have a first aid kit on hand in case an accident does happen. You should have the following in your first aid kit:
- Sterile saline: For cleaning eyes and/or affected areas.
- Sterile wraps: For wrapping the the wound while on way to get care.
- Aloe vera: Helpful for treating and alleviating pain from minor burns.
- Blunt scissors: For cutting clothing off the affected area.
- Blanket: For smothering a fire.
Remember to always stay safe when using fireworks. Most importantly HAVE FUN!