This year, the Fourth of July holiday falls on a Saturday – making it, even more, inviting for events such as barbecues, pool parties and firework displays. No matter how you plan on celebrating Independence Day, do so safely. The Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous days of the year in terms of personal injury risks. Avoid a few of the most common safety mistakes to keep your family free from injuries this year.
Underestimating the Risk of Consumer Fireworks
One of the best Independence Day safety tips is to avoid consumer fireworks entirely. Go to a professional show if you and your family want to see fireworks this Fourth of July. It’s important to know the laws in Texas regarding fireworks. Most major cities in Texas ban the use of consumer fireworks within city limits. More importantly, fireworks cause thousands of serious injuries every year. They are also behind tens of thousands of structural fires and related injuries and deaths. If you must use fireworks to celebrate the holiday, do so safely.
- Only purchase fireworks from licensed vendors.
- Do not try to create your own fireworks.
- Do not point fireworks directly at any person or structure.
- Never place fireworks in glass bottles or metal containers to light them.
- Do not use fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Light one firework at a time.
- Never try to re-light dud fireworks.
- Keep a hose, a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher close by.
- Douse all used fireworks in water.
In 2018, around 9,100 people visited emergency rooms in the US for firework injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The most common firework-related injuries are to the hands, fingers, head, face, ears, legs, eyes, trunks and arms. Injuries can range from third-degree burns to traumatic amputations due to firework explosions. Disfigurement, permanent scarring and digit amputations are all possible firework injuries victims could suffer if they fail to use fireworks safely.
Letting Kids Partake
Children are some of the most common victims of Fourth of July accidents. Almost half (46%) of all firework injury victims are 19 years old and younger. More than one-third (36%) of firework-related injuries in 2018 involved children under the age of 15. When looking at an age group’s relative risk based on population, children five to nine are more than twice as likely as others to suffer firework injuries.
Parents often have the power to prevent child injuries related to fireworks but fail to do so for lack of safety knowledge. They may not realize how dangerous all types of fireworks can be for children. Sparklers, for example, are often mistaken as safe. In reality, sparklers account for more than one-fourth of all firework-related ER visits. Sparklers can give children severe burn injuries that cause permanent scars.
Keep your children safe this Fourth of July by refusing them permission to use fireworks. Explain that no type of firework is safe for children under 18 – including sparklers, smoke bombs, firecrackers and bang snaps. Any type of firework could cause significant childhood injuries that maim them for life. Do not allow children to use fireworks or lighters/matches, even with adult supervision. A devastating firework accident could happen in a matter of seconds – too soon for a supervising adult to intervene.
Making Common 4th of July Party Mistakes
Many people are rethinking their party plans this Fourth of July due to the coronavirus. If you or someone you know is still hosting an event with social distancing guidelines in place, make sure you follow safety rules for an injury-free celebration. If the party will have a pool, have a sober adult supervising at all times. If you are grilling, check your grill for cracks or leaks before use. Never grill indoors or near any structures, including decks and patios. If you will be out on the water, obey your state’s boating laws and best practices. Keep safety in mind no matter how you plan on celebrating the Fourth of July this year.