Among the ice cream, sunscreen and beach days that make summer fun is July 4, where barbecues and fireworks are a holiday must. Lighting up the night with these colorful sparks is a great way to commemorate the holiday—just make sure you have these safety tips in mind.
You may have a lot of DIY projects in mind to try out this summer, but make sure fireworks aren’t on the list. The best way to avoid injury is to leave it to the pros and attend a public event to get your Fourth of July fill.
If you do plan to put on a show of your own, make sure you’re using firework products that are legal in your area and staying away from anything homemade.
Keep the kids away
Children should never set off fireworks or be near others that are doing so. Remains of fireworks may still be explosive, so kids should stay away during clean up as well. While sparklers are widely used as a way to let children in on the celebration, they can burn hotter than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so parents should be wary that they can still be dangerous.
“If you choose to give your child a sparkler, make sure they are supervised the whole time its lit,” says Nancy Pook, MD, medical director of the Network Operations Command Center at Kettering Health Network. “Make sure they don’t run with it and soak the sparkler in a bucket of water after burning to cool it off before disposing of it.”
If you or another adult are planning to set off legal fireworks in an approved area, there are a few things you should know before putting on a show. Make sure fireworks are not pointed toward any homes or easily ignited material such as the leaves of trees. Wear protective eye gear and light only one firework at a time.
“If an accident does happen, such as a serious injury or burn, get the person to an emergency room immediately,” says Dr. Pook.
What to do with a dud
Every once in a while, you’ll find a malfunctioning firework product. If that’s the case, never try to relight it. Instead, soak the firework in a bucket of water to extinguish it and then throw it away. It is also helpful to have such a bucket in case of fire.
Don’t forget your furry friends
Many animals may appear stressed or afraid when fireworks go off, so keep them secured indoors to prevent them from escaping or running near fireworks where they could be injured. Check your yard for debris before allowing pets to play outside the next day, even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself.