Tips to avoid fireworks-related injuries

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In 2012, nearly 9,000 Americans suffered fireworks related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Their annual report showed that over 5,000 of those injuries occurred between June 22 and July 22. More than half of the injuries involved burns to the hands, head, and face.

The best way to avoid injuries is to leave fireworks displays to the professionals, according to Andrea Bladel, R.N., BSN and Trauma Nurse Coordinator for Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, Iowa.

“The professional fireworks displays are safer, bigger, and better than anything we can do in our backyards,” said Bladel.

About one-third of fireworks-related injuries are from sparklers. Bladel encourages any parents who allow their children to use sparklers to maintain close supervision and to urge kids to stay in one place, and not to run with a sparkler.

According to a spokesperson from Genesis Medical Center, the hospital has had no admissions related to fireworks injuries in recent years.

“We have fewer injuries locally than in many other areas,” said Bladel. “I think this is due in part, because of the high quality of our local professional fireworks displays.”

Genesis Health System is sponsoring the Red, White and Boom fireworks display on Wednesday, July 3. Genesis says the show will be “bigger and brighter than ever before.”

The display can be seen from downtown Davenport and downtown Rock Island on the Illinois and Iowa riverfronts.

Genesis offered some recommendations to prevent fireworks injuries at home:

  • Light fireworks outdoors in areas clear of houses, dry leaves, grass, or flammable materials
  • Do not smoke while handling fireworks
  • Young children should not be allowed to play with fireworks under any circumstances
  • Older children should only be permitted to use legal fireworks under close, adult supervision
  • Have water available nearby for emergencies
  • Ignite fireworks only on smooth, flat surfaces
  • Be sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
  • Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Don’t attempt to relight “duds”
  • Don’t place fireworks in containers before lighting
  • Alcohol and fireworks are a dangerous combination