The use of fireworks peaks around the July 4th holiday, but despite their glowing and dazzling appeal they don't come without risk.
"People associate fireworks and sparklers with celebrations and fun," says Pedro Beredjiklian, MD, a hand, wrist and microvascular surgeon at the Rothman Institute.
"However, every year, thousands of firework injuries occur, including burns, eye injuries,loss of fingers and even death."
As a general rule, Dr. Beredjiklian says that people should avoid shooting off their own fireworks. However, if you are around when fireworks are being used, he offers the following precautions:
- Children should never handle, play with or light fireworks.
- Follow local and state laws– don't use illegal explosives, alter fireworks or make your own.
- Light fireworks on a hard, flat and level surface.
- Keep clear of fireworks and sparklers – never put your head or any body part over the top of any explosive product at any time. Never look into a tube to check the firework item and never hold one.
- Fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction, so keep a safe distance.
- Stay clear of "duds" that don't go off.
- Don't sit too close – 30 percent of firework-related injuries involve eyes and one in four of those result in permanent vision loss.