When used as directed, fireworks can help make special occasions like the Fourth of July fun and memorable. If used improperly, however, they can cause serious burns, fires, traumatic amputations and even death.
Who's most at risk for injury from fireworks? According to the National Fire Protection Association, it's kids ages 5-14.
"Each Fourth of July, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks," the organization's website reads.
Children should never handle fireworks - including sparklers. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals and cause third degree burns.
The American Pyrotechnics Association website offers several fireworks safety tips from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety, which recommend that consumers:
- Always read and follow label directions
- Always have an adult present
- Only buy from reliable fireworks sellers – never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
- Only ignite fireworks outdoors, light only one at a time and never reignite malfunctioning fireworks
- Dispose of fireworks properly
- Be sure to have water handy
- Never give fireworks to small children
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
- Never throw fireworks at another person
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
For more fireworks safety information, visit the USCPSC website.