Preventing and Treating Fireworks Injuries

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On average, 230 people go to an emergency room every day with firework-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Understanding the dangers of fireworks can help prevent these injuries and help your family stay safe.

Here are 5 safety practices you should do this 4th:

  • Don’t allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstance. Sparklers may seem safe, but did you know they burn at nearly 1800 F? That is hot enough to melt gold – and cause serious burns.
  • Use fireworks in an area clear of burn dangers, or combustible materials – it’s really dry out there, so watch out for wood piles, brush fields, and your house!
  • Never try to relight or handle fireworks that won’t light. Just soak with water and throw it away.
  • Always keep a bucket of water near for emergencies and soaking fireworks that don’t work. (see previous bullet)
  •  Once a firework is burning stand a safe distance back and enjoy the show. Also, give the firework plenty of time to run its course.

Treating Burn Injuries from Fireworks

Practicing firework safety is the first step you should take in order to keep you and your loved ones out of harms way, this Fourth of July. However, it is inevitable for a burn to happen when handling fireworks. So, how can you treat accidental burns, if someone you care about is injured this holiday?

Q. What is the first thing I should do if a burn occurs?

A. The most important thing to do first is make sure it is clean and dry. In all cases you should be able to use a mild soap and lukewarm water to clean and sanitize the wound.

Q. Are topical ointments recommended?

A. Using Neosporin or other topical ointment isn’t necessarily required in all situations. Sometimes, using it excessively can keep the wound moist and can delay the healing process to some degree. If you initially cleaned the wound and can keep it clean and dry, you may not need an antibiotic ointment at all.

Q. How can I manage the pain if I’ve been burned?

A. Most individuals with burns can take an ibuprofen or Tylenol at the recommended over-the-counter dosage to manage pain. There are also some topical pain relievers that can be used, such as burn free wipes; which have a light dose of numbing medication in them. Always be sure to follow the guidelines provided on the packaging of the pain-relieving medications.

Q. When should I seek the help of a Physician or Practitioner for my burn?

A. As a general guideline, if the size of the wound is bigger than the palm of your hand it may need a second opinion or further evaluation. If the burn occurs around the eyes, nose, ears, toes, and fingers, regardless of size, it’s recommended that a practitioner evaluate you - as the wound may become problematic. Lastly, if you notice symptoms of the wound becoming infected (i.e. increased pain, fever, streaking redness, etc.) you should see a physician.

3 Most Dangerous Fireworks

Family, friends, BBQs, and patriotic music fill the day with fun and excitement for the fireworks nightcap. While all fireworks have risk and danger associated with them, according to the American Association of Pediatrics the three most dangerous fireworks common at most family parties:

  • Sparklers
  • Aerials
  • Firecrackers.

These fireworks send 85,800 children in the U.S. to the hospital emergency department with serious injuries each year. Avoiding the most dangerous fireworks and using some simple common-sense guidelines can help you enjoy the celebration injury free. Here are some guidelines, courtesy of Primary Children’s Hospital website.

If the unthinkable happens – your child is injured by fireworks – here are some suggestions:

  • Go immediately to a doctor or hospital.
  • Don’t flush an injured eye with water or attempt to put ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, put it around the eye and seek immediate medical attention – your child’s eyesight may depend on it.
  • If the injury is a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn. Call your doctor immediately.

History of Fireworks

The 4th and fireworks are meant to be fun and be a great experience for the family. In the spirit on that, did you know these 5 fun facts about fireworks?

  • China invented fireworks – According the fireworks.com, the most common legend refers to a Chinese cook, who mistakenly mixed charcoal, sulpher, and saltpeter in a compressed bamboo tube – that eventually exploded.
  • Italy made fireworks pretty – According the Smithsonian.com, Italy introduced aerial shells to the firework world – giving shape and ultimately adding color.
  • Fireworks came to America in 1777 – When? You guessed it July 4, 1777. Since that day, fireworks have been a cornerstone piece of Independence Day celebrations.
  • The average consumer spends – in 2016, the average consumer spent $71.23 on fireworks, adding up to $710 million in total spend – according to the Denver Post.
  • The world’s largest firework show is in the Philippines – The record was set January 1, 2016 when an astounding 810,904 fireworks were launched into the sky.
For 2 more bonus fun facts head over to our friends SelectHealth blog!


FULL fireworks safety