A Special Report for USADR and Other Media
As community parades and hometown Independence Day celebrations take new form this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is reminding Americans to celebrate safely and take caution when handling fireworks. From small-scale poppers and handheld sparklers to larger firework displays, at-home safety measures are key to avoiding injuries to the hands, eyes and face.
“Social distancing, crowd restrictions and the cancellation of neighborhood gatherings has many Americans shifting their plans for this Fourth of July,” states Todd Swenning, MD, FAAOS, orthopaedic trauma surgeon and spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). “We can expect an increase in first-time fireworks users or those who simply want to bring more sparkle to the party. Before you fire off a bunch of bottle rockets or hand a sparkler over to someone, consider your fingers, toes and other extremities. Many fireworks may seem harmless, but they can reach high temperatures that can result in third-degree burns down to the bone or even loss of limbs.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the one-month period of time around the Fourth of July results in increased fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms. In 2018, 62% of the total fireworks-related injuries occurred during this interval1.
Stay safe this season by following some safety tips from the AAOS:
- Check with your local police department to determine if fireworks are legal in your area. If so, find out which types, and verify that there is not a burn ban in effect in your community that might create hazardous fire conditions.
- Never purchase or use illegal fireworks. Their quality cannot be assured.
- Only adults should light fireworks.
- Always have water close by in case of a fire, such as a hose hooked to a faucet or a nearby bucket of water.
- Wear safety eyewear when using fireworks.
- Soak used fireworks in water before discarding to prevent setting unintentional fires.
- Never try to relight a firework.
- If you are injured using fireworks, seek immediate medical attention.
- Never allow young children to play with or go near fireworks, including sparklers. Some sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
- Never handle fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.