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June 2004

NHM Health Focus: Fireworks Safety

Fireworks Safety Tips:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions

  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.

  • Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.

  • Keep a bucket of water in case of a malfunction or fire.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) reports that in "2001, 9,500 people were treated in U.S. emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. Children 14 years and younger sustained about 50% of injuries related to fireworks, and boys represented 75% of all those injured. Typically, three quarters of injuries from fireworks in the United States occur in the days surrounding the July 4th holiday." Most of these injuries and deaths could have been avoided.

The following organizations and government agencies have produced resources with information and activities aimed at preventing deaths and injuries from fireworks.

  • The National Institute on Deaf and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) has resources for parents and teachers.

  • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has posted a list of Fireworks Safety Promotion Ideas

  • Girl Power is a web site sponsored by U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for girls 9 to 13. It encourages and motivates 9 to 13 year-old girls to make the most of their lives and features Fireworks Safety Tips.

  • Fireworks Fun from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Kid's Pages features an interactive Periodic Table from which you can learn which chemical elements are important in the manufacture of fireworks and create safe fireworks displays on your computer screen.

Prevent Blindness America warns that there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks. It is only safe to enjoy the splendor and excitement of fireworks at a professional display. If there is an accident, following these six steps can help save the victim's sight.

The fireworks safety resources on Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum Health (AE @ NHM) include:

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