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Fireworks and the 4th of July go together like brats and buns.

But, lighting the sky up at home has its risks.

An explosive injury can lead to the loss of independence and, in worse-case scenarios, the loss of life.

According to the National Safety Council, 17 people died, and more than 12,000 people were injured by fireworks in 2017. Half of those injured were under 20 years of age.

Even the most “harmless” of types cause injury. Firecrackers cause nearly a fifth of fireworks-related injuries. Sparklers cause another 25 percent.

According to a June 26, 2019 press release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 62 percent of fireworks injuries that occurred in 2018 happened between June 22 and July 22.

Here are a few fireworks safety reminders to help you clear of emergency rooms this year.

Be careful when choosing fireworks.

  • Save yourself some time, frustration, and embarrassment. Check your city, county, and state laws about when, where, and how you can light fireworks. Nothing stops a celebration faster than red and blue flashing lights.
  • Only buy legal fireworks. Pass on items wrapped in brown paper. This packaging indicates they were part of a professional display.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks. They are a recipe for disaster. Leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals.

Store and carry fireworks safely

  • Fireworks are explosives; handle them with extreme care.
  • Place unused firecrackers and other rockets in a cool, dry place away from combustible materials.
  • Follow any special storage instructions on the package.
  • Avoid putting pyrotechnics in your pockets. If they ignite, they can cause serious injury.

Be Prepared

In 2017, fireworks caused about 18,500 fires. Before you light one match or flick a lighter, ensure you have fast water access to put out hot spots.

  • Turn on the hose
  • Fill a bucket

You’ll need to pour water over used cartridges, duds, and misfires before throwing them in the trash.

Keep a close eye on children

Children of all ages are fascinated by fire and sparks.

Supervise children closely. Even sparklers, which can reach temperatures hot enough to melt metal, can cause injury. Keep children a safe distance away from firecrackers and other rockets that explode from or travel across the ground.

Use Fireworks safely

  • Only light pyrotechnic devices if there is no fire danger in your area.
  • Don’t use explosives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Wear protective glasses or goggles if you’re lighting fireworks.
  • Place unlit fireworks away from the active firing area.
  • Keep your arms, legs, hands, and feet away from burning fuses.
  • Never hold an explosive when the fuse is lit.
  • Light one firecracker or rocket at a time and move a safe distance away from the explosion.
  • Don’t light fireworks in a glass or metal container.
  • Don’t light fireworks inside a building.
  • Never point or throw firecrackers or other explosives toward another person.
  • Light pyrotechnics a safe distance away from houses, woods, or cars.

Never re-light or handle a dud. It could explode at any moment. Instead, soak any misfired or failed-to-launch cartridges or rockets in water and throw them away.

Fireworks are fun to watch, but even professionals respect how dangerous they can be. If you use them, use extreme caution.

We wish you and yours a safe and injury-free summer full of memories.

But if you experience an injury while celebrating on July 4th, Bone & Joint’s orthopedic specialists are here to provide for your orthopedic needs.

For more orthopedic news from Bone & Joint, click here.