Manisha Thakkar, MD is a pediatrician with privileges at Cardon Children’s Medical Center. For more information on this topic, talk with your doctor or call (480) 512-KIDS.
Question: Now that fireworks can be bought almost anywhere, how can I keep my kids safe?
Answer: When fireworks are mishandled by inexperienced people, they can cause serious burn and eye injuries. Now that they are legal in some communities in Arizona, fireworks present a real danger to children and adults.
If you choose to use fireworks, taking precautions is important. For example, never let kids handle fireworks alone or without adult supervision. Even sparklers can reach temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, posing a serious burn risk. Only use legal fireworks that are properly labeled, and store them in a cool, dry place. Use fireworks outdoors and keep a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of fire.
Fireworks can backfire or go off in the wrong direction, so make sure no one is nearby when you set them. Keep your body away from them as well, never hold them in your hand, and always wear eye protection. Direct the fireworks away from homes, dry brush, or anything flammable. Light each firework one at a time, and never relight one that won’t fire. After use, soak fireworks in water before throwing them away.
If a firework injures a child or adult, seek immediate medical attention. Until you can reach a doctor or hospital, treat burns by removing any clothes at the injury site and running cool, not cold, water over the area. If an eye is injured, do not rub or touch it. Rather, make a paper patch to cover the eye and go to the nearest emergency room. And remember, the safest fireworks experience is one hosted by professionals.