Fireworks safety tips from orthopaedic surgeons
ROSEMONT, Ill.—Everyone knows that an Independence Day celebration isn’t complete without fireworks. The temptation may be there to make your own show, but make sure you handle the situation with caution.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) wants people to understand the risks associated with fireworks. Body parts like hands, fingers, and arms are most vulnerable to injury when fireworks are used unsafely or improperly.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that in 2014, fireworks caused:
- More than 22,700 injuries among people of all ages, including 8,787 emergency department visits.
- Total medical expenses of over $138 million, and the average person suffering $17,785 in work loss.
“When dealing with fireworks, it’s always best to maintain a safe distance,” said AAOS spokesperson and orthopaedic surgeon Taizoon H. Baxamusa, MD. “Always pay attention to recommended safety tips in order to help prevent injuries, and never let your children play with them.”
There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy fireworks this summer without putting yourself or your family at risk:
- Check with your local police department to determine if fireworks are legal. If so, determine which types, and also verify that there is not a burn ban in effect in your community for fire hazard conditions.
- Consider watching a fireworks show in your community rather than having one of your own.
- Never buy or use illegal fireworks. Their quality cannot be assured.
- Only adults should light fireworks.
- Always have water handy in case of a fire, such as a hose hooked to a faucet, or a nearby bucket of water.
- Read the caution label on packaging before igniting.
- Wear safety eyewear when using fireworks.
- Soak used fireworks in water before discarding to prevent unintentional fires.
- Never try to relight a firework.
- If you are injured using fireworks, seek immediate medical attention.
- Never allow young children to play with or go near fireworks, including sparklers. They
seem harmless but sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
- Never handle fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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About the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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