Rosemont, Ill. - Surgeons who are members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) are urging would-be Independence Day revelers to abstain from backyard fireworks displays. A recent Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) study noted that a majority of the injuries from the "consumer" fireworks involved misuse rather than malfunction.
Fireworks of some kind are legal in 44 states. But all fireworks, even sparklers, can become dangerous if used improperly. The most common backyard fireworks-firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers-cause 57 percent of all fireworks injuries.
"More than one-third of fireworks-related injuries include burns, lacerations, fractures and traumatic amputation to the fingers, hands or arms," says David M. Lichtman, MD, president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. "We encourage people to enjoy firework displays put on by their city or other organizations-to leave fireworks to the professionals."
For those still setting off fireworks on their own, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the National Council of Fireworks Safety offer the following tips:
1. Always buy fireworks from reputable retailers
2. Never experiment or make your own fireworks
3. While legal in most states, sparklers may reach temperatures as hot as 2,000 degrees. Keep sparklers out of the hands of children--no matter how safe an environment may seem
4. If sparklers are used, do not hold sparklers or run with them. Instead, put them in the ground
5. Be sure children and pets are out of range before lighting fireworks
6. Keep everyone away from falling debris as well. The debris will still be hot or on fire
7. When setting off fireworks, always have a bucket of water and a running hose nearby
8. Only ignite one firework at a time
9. Never relight a "dud." If a firework doesn't ignite, wait 15 minutes and soak the firework in a bucket of water
10. Dispose of spent fireworks by soaking them in water and then placing them in an outdoor trash can
11. Should an accident occur, pressure should be applied to control bleeding. Call 911 immediately