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HCA Florida Healthcare Hospitals warns of July 4th fireworks injuries

The July 4th holiday is a busy time for hospital emergency rooms, fueled in large part by those who mishandle fireworks or ignite them while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or lack of […]

The July 4th holiday is a busy time for hospital emergency rooms, fueled in large part by those who mishandle fireworks or ignite them while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or lack of safety awareness.

  • “We often see injuries from firecrackers exploding at close range and sparklers causing severe burns to the face, hands, and feet when mishandled,” said Dr. Kevin Bryan, emergency room physician at HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital.

Firecrackers can cause injuries to the hands or face if they explode at close range or while still being held. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt metal, and can quickly cause severe burns to the face, hands and feet, according to HCA Florida. Sparklers can also cause eye injuries from their sparks.

A 2022 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report on fireworks injuries and deaths shows adults ages 25 – 44 accounted for about 36 percent of fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding the July 4th holiday of that year. Children under 15 accounted for 28 percent of fireworks-related injuries during that same timeframe.

  • Fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,200 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2022, although doctors agree the actual number of fireworks injuries is much greater, considering not everyone injured seeks care.

 “Our advice is simple – have fun over the holiday but leave the fireworks to the experts,” said Dr. Erik Petersen, emergency room physician at HCA Florida Twin Cities Hospital.

Firework Safety Tips from HCA Florida:

  • Legal Compliance: Only use fireworks that are legal in your area. Follow all local laws and regulations.
  • Adult Supervision: Always have a responsible adult supervise all fireworks activities. Never allow children to handle fireworks.
  • Safe Distance: Keep spectators at a safe distance from the launch area.
  • Hold with Care: Never hold a firecracker or firework in your hand. Use a lighter with a long reach to maintain a safe distance.
  • Read Instructions: Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each firework.
  • Clear Area: Use fireworks in a clear, open area away from buildings, vehicles, dry grass, and other flammable materials.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Have a bucket of water, hose, or fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
  • No Alterations: Never attempt to alter or combine fireworks. Use them exactly as intended by the manufacturer.
  • No Alcohol or Substances: Avoid using fireworks if you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  • Wear Eye Protection: Consider wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes from sparks and debris.
  • Alternatives: Consider safer alternatives to sparklers for children, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.
  • Protect Pets: Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks. The loud noises and bright lights can be distressing to animals.

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