How to prevent firework hand injuries

Enjoy Independence Day as a family safely and responsibly.

It’s fun to play with fireworks — until it’s not. Emergency departments across the country see an increase in burns and hand injuries around the  July Fourth holiday.

Charity S. Burke, M.D., hand surgeon with Norton Louisville Arm & Hand, has treated such fireworks injuries.

Norton Louisville Arm & Hand

The skilled surgeons with Norton Louisville Arm & Hand are available to treat children and teens after trauma or an injury. Our surgeons have specialized training in the unique needs of caring for children’s growing arms, wrists and hands.

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“When you’re the on-call hand surgeon during the Fourth of July, you know you’re going to be busy,” Dr. Burke said.

Here are some tips for staying out of the emergency department.

  • Obey your city, county and state laws regarding fireworks. Currently, 49 states plus the District of Columbia allow some or all types of fireworks, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.
  • Avoid using shells, mortars or homemade fireworks such as pipe bombs, tennis ball bombs and altered consumer fireworks.
  • A responsible adult should monitor all firework activity. Fireworks should not be given to children.
  • Have a bucket of water and a hose with running water nearby while using fireworks.
  • Read safety labels and instructions before igniting.
  • Never hold a firework when it is lit.
  • Wear safety glasses while using and lighting fireworks.
  • Adults should not drink alcohol while igniting fireworks or monitoring their child’s firework use. Enjoy alcohol in moderation after the show.
  • Light one firework at a time, and move away immediately after lighting.
  • Use fireworks outside only, away from buildings and cars.
  • Do not relight “dud” fireworks. Wait 20 minutes and then soak in a bucket of water.
  • Dispose of used fireworks by wetting them down and placing in a metal trash can, away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.