The summer celebrations have begun and the 4th of July weekend is fast approaching. If you choose to celebrate with fireworks, the Michigan Poison and Drug Information Center (MiPDC) at Wayne State University School of Medicine advises you to stay safe during National Fireworks Safety Month and all throughout the season.
Each July, poison control centers across the country receive an increase in calls related to exposure to many types of fireworks. Fireworks contain a variety of toxic chemicals such as arsenic, barium chlorate, phosphorus and potassium nitrate. The MiPDC advises everyone to avoid injury and accidents with these products. Do not ingest fireworks. Ingestion of fireworks can cause mild symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Life-threatening symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing and seizures may develop with significant exposure.
According to the National Safety Council, the majority of fireworks-related burns treated in emergency departments occur in people under the age of 20. Fireworks generally considered relatively safe for children, such as sparklers, burn at temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause serious injury.
MiPDC recommends the following safety tips to ensure your celebrations remain safe and enjoyable:
• Do not ingest fireworks
• Wear eye protection
• Avoid picking up lit fireworks
• Keep out of reach of young children
• Avoid letting young children handle fireworks, including sparklers
• Older children should be supervised by an adult when using fireworks
• Designate an area for the person launching the fireworks and prohibit anyone else from approaching it
• Avoid lighting or using fireworks inside or near a house or garage
• Avoid lighting fireworks near other people or flammable materials and liquids
• Avoid trying to relight or tamper with fireworks that have malfunctioned
• Have a bucket of water nearby to completely extinguish fireworks, including those that have malfunctioned
• Light one firework at a time
• Keep pets indoors in a quiet place
• Avoid using fireworks if you use drugs or alcohol
• Avoid forcing anyone to vomit if fireworks have been ingested
The safest way to watch fireworks is with professional displays. Check your municipality’s website to find professional fireworks near you, or visit michiganfireworks.com for more statewide fireworks.
For questions about fireworks safety or if anyone has been exposed to fireworks, call the Michigan Poison and Drug Information Center at 1-800-222-1222.