Thousands of people in the United States will go to the ER with fireworks-related injuries during the July 4th holiday, prompting emergency room physicians at Medical City Las Colinas to provide safety tips, in advance of festivities, to help prevent these accidents.
“Each year during this holiday weekend, we see extensive hand and facial injuries in the ER due to improper handling of sparklers and fireworks,” says Amrita Nanda, MD, emergency medicine physician at Medical City Las Colinas. “Sparklers can reach over 2,000 degrees and require close adult supervision of children to reduce the risk of burns.”
In 2020, more than 15,600 fireworks related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The report shows that more than 60% of the injuries were to the hands and face and the highest rate of emergency department-treated firework-related injuries were among children under the age of 15.
To avoid injury from sparklers and fireworks, the experts at Medical City Las Colinas recommend following these guidelines:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks
- Do not use alcohol when using fireworks
- Only light one firework at a time, then move away
- Never try to relight a “dud” firework, wait 20 minutes before approaching the firework, then soak it in water overnight before disposing of it
- Never shoot fireworks into metal or glass containers
Most cities in North Texas do not permit the use of fireworks, outside of professional shows, except in unincorporated areas. Local county ordinances should be reviewed before igniting fireworks.
If someone does suffer a firework burn, experts recommend:
- Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process
- Remove clothing and jewelry from the injured area, unless the clothing is adhered to the burn
- Cover the area with a dry clean sheet or loose bandages
- Seek medical attention if necessary