SDC Llach Fireworks Safety HERO


Keeping Your Family Safe and Stress-Free on the Fourth of July

Who doesn’t love celebrating the Fourth of July? It’s America’s birthday party and favorite summertime holiday, where families and friends get together to enjoy barbecues, picnics and, of course, fireworks. But do be careful, doctors say – emergency room visits due to fireworks tend to “rocket” higher this time of year.


A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which tracks fireworks-related injuries across the country, highlights the dangers associated with even the smallest store-bought fireworks.


According to CPSC’s most current data, between 2006 and 2021, injuries from fireworks in the U.S. climbed 25 percent. In 2022, there were an estimated 10,200 emergency room-treated injuries involving fireworks, and at least 11 of them were fatal.


Additional data from the CPSC report shows that 73% of all injuries from fireworks occurred during the month-long study period between June 18 and July 18, and many of them involved small firecrackers and sparklers. Other findings in the CPSC report include:


  • Adults 25 to 44 years of age experienced about 36 percent of the estimated injuries, and children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 28 percent of the estimated injuries.
  • Where known, the fireworks types with the highest estimated emergency department-treated injuries in 2022 were firecrackers (1,300) followed by sparklers (600).
  • The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (an estimated 29 percent of injuries) along with head, face, and ears (an estimated 19 percent); legs (an estimated 19 percent); and eyes (an estimated 16 percent).
  • Burns were the most frequently estimated type of injury, making up 38 percent of all emergency department-treated fireworks injuries.


Safely celebrating with fireworks


Jose F. Llach, D.O., emergency medicine physician with Baptist Health


Jose F. Llach, D.O., an emergency medicine physician with Baptist Health, says he has seen too many injuries resulting from people using fireworks carelessly. “Fireworks are great and can be enjoyed by all ages – as long as certain safety guidelines are observed,” says Dr. Llach.


First and foremost, Dr. Llach advises, never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. “That includes sparklers, which burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees and can cause serious injuries,” he says. The CPSC notes that half of reported sparkler injuries last year involved children younger than five. “We strongly encourage parents to closely supervise their little ones when using sparklers or any type of firework,” says Dr. Llach.


In addition to exercising caution with sparklers, Dr. Llach advises people to follow CPSC recommendations for safely handling fireworks this Fourth of July or any time of year:


• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.


• Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from the fireworks device quickly.


• Never try to relight or handle “duds” (malfunctioning fireworks) – soak them with water and throw them away.


• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.


• Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.


• Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.


• After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before disposing of it.


• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.


• Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.


If you do suffer a burn, you can cool off the wound by putting a cool wet compress on it, says Dr. Llach. “Avoid home remedies and creams, however, and seek medical care if needed,” he adds. “Sometimes burns can be quite serious and need to be treated by a medical professional.”


Fireworks are scary for some

The spectacle of fireworks shooting skyward and exploding in colorful, crackling displays doesn’t appeal to everyone, experts caution. For some people – and many pets – the brilliant flashes of light and ground-shaking blasts can be frightening, if not traumatic.


“Dogs aren’t the only ones who can become terrified by the sound of fireworks,” says Rachel Rohaidy, M.D., formerly a psychiatrist with Baptist Health Primary Care who is now a neuropsychiatrist with Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute. “For some people with certain anxiety disorders or PTSD, loud noises and popping sounds may increase their anxiety and bring a lot of fear.”


Dr. Rohaidy says it’s helpful to know your triggers. “If you know loud explosions are a trigger for you and your neighbor sets off fireworks every year on the Fourth of July, you can have a conversation with them and be as open and honest as you can,” she advises. “If that doesn’t work and you aren’t comfortable sticking around for the ‘Big Display,’ maybe you can go to a friend’s house where there are no fireworks.”


As you and your family prepare for this year’s Fourth of July, Dr. Llach hopes you’ll focus on making it a safe and stress-free occasion for all. “Independence Day is a great holiday and can be a lot of fun for people of all ages,” he says. “We just want to make sure you celebrate safely, so we don’t end up having to see you here.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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