Isn't the Fourth of July great? In addition to
celebrating America's independence as a nation, there's no school, lots of
families have barbecues or cookouts and you can usually enjoy a very cool
fireworks display once it gets dark.
Many people celebrate the holiday by lighting
sparklers or setting off a few fireworks on their neighborhood street
while others may go to see a professional fireworks show. It's important
to remember that fireworks can be dazzling, but they can also be dangerous
- 8,500 people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for fireworks
injuries in 1999. And almost half of those injured each year are kids
under age 19.
Eye injuries are among the most common fireworks
injuries. Many of these eye injuries are very serious and there is even a
risk of blindness if eye tissue is damaged or torn! Other common injuries
with fireworks include burns to the hands and face, which can leave scars.
Someone could even lose one or more fingers if fireworks go off the wrong
way. If older kids or teens - or even adults you don't know - are playing
with or around fireworks, you should leave the area. No amount of fun is
worth the risk of being hurt.
Did you know?
Lots of people don't consider sparklers to be
fireworks, but sparklers can actually be as dangerous as rockets and
larger fireworks. According to Prevent Blindness America, sparklers can
heat up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit - that's hot enough to melt gold!
To celebrate safely, here are some tips:
Kids should NEVER play with matches or fireworks of any kind. It's
just too dangerous. If a kid you know is lighting fireworks, leave the
area and tell an adult right away.
If you are attending a backyard or even a professional fireworks
display, be sure you are sitting or standing away from where they are
Only adults should light sparklers for you - and they should always
be around if any kids are holding them while they are lit.
Always have water or a fire extinguisher handy in case of a fire.
Sparklers should only be lit outside - and held carefully away from
your face, clothing and hair. You don't want to have your hair or clothes
catch on fire - you could get badly burned.
Never let your younger brother or sister hold a sparkler without
your parent's permission. They may be too young to know they can get
Never point your sparkler at another person or throw it.
Once the sparkler goes out, soak it in water and then throw it
And of course, if you or someone you know is injured in any way by
a sparkler or firework, get help from an adult right away.
happy and safe holiday!