New Year’s is a time for celebrating—and what better way to ring in the New Year than with fireworks?
However, before you light up that sparkler this holiday week, make sure to consider the hazards of fireworks, and learn how to keep yourself and your children safe.
Are fireworks safe for my family to use?
Children can be especially vulnerable to firework-related injuries. Most parents do not consider the safety risks associated with seemingly harmless fireworks, like sparklers.
“Sparklers, which are often considered safe for small children, can burn up to temperatures of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the same heat as from a blow torch,” said Dr. Lilian Liao, pediatric trauma and burn director at University Hospital. “They can not only cause serious injuries to kids, but can also be a fire hazard. “
So, while it may seem like a good idea to set off your own fireworks, Dr. Liao stresses that it’s usually better to let the professionals handle them instead. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 15,600 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2020 for firework-related injuries.
“Fireworks are best done by professionals. However, if you choose to light your own, do not try to relight ones that do not go off or look directly into any firework,” Dr. Liao said.
The most common firework-related injuries are to the hands and fingers, which comprise 30% of these injuries. Injuries to the head, face, ears and eyes comprised 37% of firework-related injuries, according to the U.S. CPSC.
What can I do to protect myself and my family when using fireworks?
If you choose to use fireworks this week, here are some safety tips to remember:
- A responsible adult should supervise children at all times.
- Never mix alcohol and fireworks. Save that drink for later.
- Never relight a firework that doesn’t go off.
- Always have a bucket of water and water hose nearby.
- Use fireworks in an outdoor area away from buildings.
Remember—if someone sustains a firework-related injury or burn, it’s important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
University Health’s Pediatric Trauma and Burn Center is part of the only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in South Texas. We have proven expertise in taking care of seriously injured children.