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Ask Dr. Nandi: What to know about fireworks safety ahead of the 4th of July

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 22:57:29-04

(WXYZ) — The 4th of July is nearly here and that means dazzling fireworks will light up the sky in celebration of Independence Day. But with fireworks also comes danger - people end up hospitalized, some have even been killed.

Fireworks are beautiful to watch but if you’re handling them, you need to be very careful because last year, 5 people were killed and over 9,000 ended up at the hospital with injuries.

Now hands and feet get injured the most, followed closely by the legs and eyes. And over 44% of these injuries are burns - which is not surprising since firework fragments can be 1,300 degrees or higher due to the gunpowder, charcoal and sulfur they contain.

Some injuries can also include tissue loss that can completely change your life, especially if it’s a finger or eye injury. Even being a bystander can come with risks, as metal fragments and chemicals are discharged when the firework detonates. So everyone needs to be cautious.

Many parents think sparklers are safe and hand them out to kids. I get it because my kids think they’re fun to look at too. But lots of children end up burned by sparklers. In fact last year the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported sparklers as the number one cause of fireworks-related injuries.

Here are my prescriptions:

  1. Don’t give sparklers or other fireworks to young children. And don’t let them ignite any either.
  2. Protect your arms and legs with long sleeve tops and pants. Even if you’re just a spectator.
  3. Don’t handle fireworks while drinking alcohol or under the influence of drugs. Your awareness and depth perception may be compromised.
  4. Lastly, wear protective eyewear to help avoid corneal burns and blindness. If you do get a fragment in the eye, don’t touch it – just get to the ER.

And remember, fireworks are very powerful so always err on the side of safety and your 4th of July will be a lot more enjoyable.