13 safety tips, precautions to avoid firework-related injuries during July 4th firework displays

AKRON, Ohio - With Independence Day drawing near, doctors at Akron Children's Hospitals want to remind those attending fireworks displays to use caution to avoid injuries.

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on average 200 people will go to the emergency room for firework-related injuries in the month surrounding the 4th of July.

Doctors say children account for nearly half of the injuries, with the most common ages being five to 14.

“Children are more susceptible to injury because they’re curious when they see the colors from the fireworks or the fire,” Becky Mundy, education coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Clifford R. Boeckman, MD, Regional Burn Center, said.  “They also have thin skin, so it burns easily.” 

Here are 13 tips and precautions from Mundy to follow to avoid firework-related injuries during this year's holiday:

  • Teach children to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothes catch fire. Make sure they know how to dial 9-1-1, and show them how to extinguish fires by using water or a fire extinguisher.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. Never use homemade or illegal fireworks. Even legal fireworks can be harmful if not used properly. Ohio law allows non-professionals to use four novelties: sparklers, snakes, snaps and smoke bombs.
  • Only adults should handle fireworks. Tell children that they should leave the area immediately if they see their friends playing with fireworks
  • Read labels and carefully follow directions. All fireworks must carry warning labels that describe necessary safety precautions
  • Make sure spectators are out of range before lighting fireworks
  • Never aim or throw fireworks at another person
  • Never allow a person who has consumed alcohol to handle fireworks
  • Never light fireworks indoors or under a covered area
  • Never place your face or any other body part over fireworks
  • Never try to re-ignite fireworks that malfunction
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials
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