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As we approach the Fourth of July, safety during firework displays is paramount, especially given the significant number of injuries these festivities can cause. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 9,700 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2023, and sadly, many of these were severe enough to require professional physical and hand therapy care. This statistic highlights just how important it is for us to adopt strong safety practices to avoid these kinds of injuries.

Here are ten safety tips based on our expertise in physical and hand therapy to help you and your family avoid common injuries and ensure a safe holiday celebration:

1. Outdoor Setup: Always ignite fireworks outside and have a bucket of water or a hose nearby for emergencies.

2. Establish a Safety Zone: Create a safe viewing area, keeping spectators about 35 feet away for ground-based fireworks and 150 feet for aerial types.

3. Handle Duds with Care: Never attempt to relight or handle fireworks that don’t initially ignite. Wait at least 10 minutes before soaking them in water to safely deactivate them.

4. Child Supervision: Keep a vigilant eye on children with sparklers, which can reach temperatures capable of melting metals and causing severe burns.

5. Dress Appropriately: Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, closed-toe shoes, and safety glasses. Choose non-flammable or tightly woven fabrics to shield against sparks.

6. Proper Disposal: Dispose of both spent and unused fireworks by soaking them in water for several hours to eliminate fire and explosion hazards.

7. Lighting Safety: Never lean over fireworks when lighting them. Ensure they are securely placed on the ground and use a long stem lighter to maintain a safe distance.

8. One at a Time: Ignite fireworks singly to reduce accident risks and enhance control over the display.

9. Maintain a Clear Launch Area: Keep the area where you light fireworks free of any debris or flammable materials to prevent accidental fires and reduce tripping hazards.

10. Opt for Safer Alternatives: Consider using party poppers, bubbles, silly string, or glow sticks, especially if you have young children or prefer to avoid the risks of traditional fireworks.

We hope these tips help make your Fourth of July celebrations both fun and safe. Remember, taking a few simple precautions can prevent most fireworks-related injuries, so let’s look out for each other and celebrate responsibly. Wishing you all a joyful and safe Independence Day!

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