The Fourth of July can be one of the most enjoyable of holidays, but it also is one when safety is a priority, especially when it comes to fireworks.
One of the best solutions is to simply join friends and family to watch your town’s fireworks display. Not only are professional fireworks spectacular, but they also put us out of harm’s way, unlike setting off firecrackers at home.
Even sparklers, which many consider the most innocent of fireworks, can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Dr. Charlotte Albinson, medical director of immediate care and occupational medicine at Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers. At those temperatures, sparklers can burn skin and ignite clothing.
Even in the safest of hands, fireworks can be unpredictable. Bottle rockets can fly erratically and hit someone in the face, and other fireworks can explode in a hand or near a foot.
“We see a lot of burns from fireworks,” Dr. Albinson said. “I’ve seen people lose digits and hands from fireworks.”
Hands and fingers are the areas of the body most commonly injured by fireworks, followed by the head and face, the legs and the eyes.
For those who do choose to celebrate the holiday with backyard fireworks, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends never lighting fireworks in your hand, not having any body part directly over a firework when lighting it, not allowing children to play with or ignite fireworks, and never re-lighting or picking up a firecracker that does not go off.
Also, remember never to mix drinking alcohol with shooting fireworks.
Dr. Albinson recommends sitting back and enjoying a public display put on by qualified pyrotechnicians.
“Instead of lighting fireworks at your home,” she said, “leave it to the professionals.”