Summer means picnics, barbecues, parades and reworks displays, especially around the 4th of July. Summer also means an increase in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires and reworks. In 2006, an estimated 9,200 people were treated in emergency rooms for reworks-related injuries, 36 percent of whom were under 15 years old.
Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of reworks injuries than the general population. About a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers. In 2004, reworks caused $21 million in direct property damage. The best way to safely enjoy this 4th of July is to watch a public reworks display conducted by professionals.
However, if reworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
• Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
• Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
• Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials.
• Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.
• Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.
• Never ignite devices in a container.
• Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks; soak them with water and discard them.
• Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.