Fireworks are synonymous with the celebration of July 4th. But when safety is not a No. 1 priority, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. According to a recent Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks-related injuries were involved in an estimated 7,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments between June 18 and July 18. This Independence Day, Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center, encourages the community to prevent fireworks accidents by practicing common sense and following basic safety rules.
“All types of fireworks, even sparklers, can cause burns or eye-related and other injuries,” said Dr. Chad Muntan, Lakeview Regional’s ER medical director. “Many people don’t realize sparklers can burn at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees, and therefore they aren’t as careful with them as they may be with other types of fireworks.
“While most patients with firework-related injuries that we see in the ER can be treated and released, more serious injuries require an overnight stay or transfer to a dedicated burn unit. Nonetheless, most of these injuries can be prevented with proper safety precautions.”
If an injury does occur, Lakeview Regional offers the shortest average ER wait times in the Northshore region. In fact, Lakeview’s average ER wait times are consistently faster than local and national averages.
To avoid injury from sparklers and fireworks, the experts at Lakeview Regional recommend following these Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- 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.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 1,800 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- 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.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.