Precautions keep fireworks fun from ending in injury

Precautions keep fireworks fun from ending in injury
Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Health and safety experts are once again warning about an up-tick in fireworks injuries.

“Any time you have an explosive - which is what they are - they can be unpredictable,” said Annie Buckland, injury and violence prevention coordinator at Stormont Vail in Topeka.

Buckland says fireworks not only are they explosive - they’re hot! That includes those often thought of as safer, like smoke bombs and sparklers.

“They get hot enough to actually melt glass, so if it’s hot enough to melt glass, imagine what it can do to your skin if it comes in contact with you,” she said.

Buckland says a minor burn can be treated at home by running it under lukewarm water and covering it to prevent infection. Anything beyond some redness needs a trip to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

“(If) blisters are broken open, there’s discoloring to the skin, extremely painful and in large areas of the body, we need to see those,” she said.

Nationally, a new Consumer Product Safety Commission report shows fireworks-related injuries are up 25 percent over the past 15 years. Last year saw at least nine deaths and an estimated 11,500 emergency room visits.

In Kansas, Safe Kids reports 179 fireworks injuries last year, one less than 2020. However, the state also saw a 78 percent increase in injuries in children between the ages of 4 and 8 from 2020 to 2021.

“There is no safe firework for your kid, whether it be sparklers, smoke bombs - whatever the case is - they have the potential to cause injury,” Buckland said.

Burns are the most common fire-works related injury. The ER also sees eye and shrapnel injuries, even amputations.

To keep the wow in your holiday, the CPSC suggests using the acronym “WOW” as a guide: W is for keeping water handy to douse fires; O means light only one firework at a time and never try to-relight what you think are duds; and the second W means to walk away once the firework is lit.

“Always be prepared for something to go wrong,” Buckland said.

Buckland also reminds you that only a mature, sober adult should light fireworks, with everyone else watching from a distance should a firework misfire in an unexpected direction. In addition, never use homemade or illegal fireworks.

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