When it comes to fireworks, here's advice that could spare you—or a loved one—a devastating injury: Leave the shows to the pros.
Every year in the U.S., fireworks cause thousands of injuries, including severe burns and eye injuries. Many of these injuries are serious enough to require treatment in hospital emergency departments. Some are deadly. And those hurt or killed are often children or bystanders.
Even sparklers are dangerous. They burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to burn some metals. And they account for 25 percent of fireworks injuries treated at emergency departments.
That's why the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) cautions that backyard fireworks simply aren't safe. If you want to ooh and aah at fireworks this summer, take in a public display put on by experts, the NFPA advises.
That said, if you light fireworks yourself, be sure to take these precautions:
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
• Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap.
Additional sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; Consumer Product Safety Commission