Every year, thousands of children are admitted to emergency rooms with fireworks injuries, and more of these injuries occur during Fourth of July festivities than any other holiday. The most common fireworks injuries result from sparklers, often considered safe for children, as well as firecrackers and bottle rockets.
Dr. Fred Cerise, Department of Health Secretary, said although fireworks are an exciting part of Independence Day events, they also can be dangerous and can turn a celebration into a tragedy if users fail to take the proper precautions.
“In order to ensure everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July, we are advising people of some basic safety guidelines they should follow if they plan to include fireworks in their celebrations this weekend,” Cerise said.
Cerise added the first crucial step to take is for residents to find out the fireworks laws for their parishes or residential areas before buying and using any. If using fireworks, the following are basic safety precautions:
- Only adults should handle fireworks; children should be advised to leave parties or celebrations if their friends are playing with fireworks.
- Teach children basic safety rules such as how to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothing catches fire and to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
- Show children how to put fireworks out with water or fire extinguishers and keep a bucket of water handy when using fireworks.
- Read the labels on fireworks and follow the recommended safety guidelines when using them. All fireworks are required to carry a warning label describing the possible risks.
- Never use fireworks indoors. Always light fireworks outdoors on a flat, smooth surface away from homes, dry leaves or other flammable materials.
- Never pick up fireworks or place them in your pockets.
- Do not attempt to re-light fireworks that appear to be malfunctioning. Do not put your face, arms or other body parts over a firework to examine it.
- Make sure all spectators are safely out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Do not use fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
- Consider viewing fireworks as part of the public celebrations hosted in most communities, where the fireworks displays are conducted by trained professionals.