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Nation's Pediatricians Remind Families to Steer Clear of Fireworks


 As the Fourth of July draws near, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is again urging families to not buy fireworks, either for adult use or for children.

Fireworks accidents injure thousands of people each year, according to the AAP, and most of the injured are teens and children. The devices have been responsible for fires, severe burns (often to the head, face and hands), permanent disfigurement and even death. According to a 2012 study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the fireworks most likely to cause injuries are sparklers, firecrackers and models that shoot into the air.

For safety’s sake, the AAP recommends enjoying public fireworks shows presented by trained professionals. However, for people who do celebrate Independence Day with their own booms, bangs and bursts of color, the AAP, the CPSC and Safe Kids USA offer the following safety tips:

  • Make sure fireworks are not illegal in your community.
  • Never buy devices packaged in brown paper. They were likely intended for professional use and can be deadly in the hands of others.
  • Carefully supervise children of all ages around fireworks.
  • Don’t allow small children to play with or light fireworks, including sparklers—which most people think of as harmless but actually burn hot enough to melt glass. Consider giving children glow sticks instead.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch fire.
  • Keep everyone several feet away from lit fireworks.
  • Use all devices only as intended. Never set one off inside a glass or metal container.
  • Ignite fireworks at a safe distance from flammable substances such as dry grass, leaves and brush.
  • Never stand directly over a device when lighting the fuse, and back away quickly as soon as it is lit.
  • If a device fails to ignite, don’t try to fix or re-light it. Instead, douse it with water and throw it away.
  • Have a fire extinguisher, bucket of water or garden hose nearby. If you choose a fire extinguisher, make sure someone knows how to use it properly.
  • Douse all spent fireworks with water before disposing of them.
  • If someone is injured, get immediate medical treatment.