Fireworks 101: A safety refresher

American College of Emergency Physicians provides list of at-home firework tips

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It wouldn't be the Fourth of July without fireworks — yet this longstanding tradition injures more than 10,000 Americans each year, half of whom, are children. Fireworks may be beautiful, but according to Beaumont doctors, they're best seen and heard from a distance.

"Many people recognize the dangers of the bigger fireworks, but surprisingly, even sparklers can be dangerous for children," says Dr. Jeffrey Ditkoff, director of operations and emergency medicine at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. "Parents are more apt to let their child handle sparklers, but they can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Their mishandling can result in serious injuries, including burns, clothing fires and puncture wounds."

To avoid any injuries, Ditkoff encourages patriotic celebrants to leave the fireworks to the professionals and avoid setting them off at home as there is no such thing as completely "safe" fireworks. Media listings most likely will provide information on which communities in the area will host fireworks displays.

Although not the preferred option, the American College of Emergency Physicians comprised a list of tips regarding at-home fireworks to help make the event a safer experience.


DO:
•    Buy legal fireworks from a reputable dealer
•    Read warning labels and follow all instructions
•    Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher on hand
•    Light fireworks one at a time
•    Dispose of all fireworks properly


DON'T:
•    Give any fireworks, including sparklers, to small children; older children should be supervised by an adult
•    Light fireworks indoors or near other objects
•    Wear loose clothing while using any fireworks
•    Set off fireworks in glass or metal containers — the fragments can cause severe injury
•    Try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks

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