By Peter Lee, M.D., Director, Pediatric Emergency Room
With the July 4th holiday right around the corner, we want to remind the community that in the hands of untrained consumers and children, fireworks can cause fires, injuries, and even death. Injuries can include severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can last a lifetime. Even fireworks mistakenly thought to be safe, like sparklers – which can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – can burn users and bystanders.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 200 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. The majority of the injuries involve the hands, fingers, eyes head and ears.
Currently, only seven states – including New Jersey – ban all consumer fireworks. Such bans have been linked to significantly lower rates of fireworks-related injuries and fires. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended prohibiting the public sale of all fireworks, including those by mail or the Internet, and encourages families to enjoy public displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.
The fact is, there is no such thing as “safe” fireworks. Even public fireworks displays should be viewed at a safe distance. The American tradition of fireworks on the Fourth of July is a joyful one, but one best left to professionals.