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INDIANAPOLIS–The risks of handling fireworks are underestimated by people, said an Indianapolis doctor. Dr. Tyler Stepsis is director of the Michael and Susan Smith Emergency Dept. at Eskenazi Health, and has seen his share of burns and other injuries caused by mishandling fireworks.

He said he believes one of the main reasons people try things with fireworks that they shouldn’t is either seeing professionals do it, or watching people take risks on the internet.

“We see stuff like that and people think, oh they’re not that unsafe. They should be fairly easy to handle, and I think people are surprised when the fireworks don’t act the way they’re supposed to act,” said Stepsis.

He said he believes the best thing to do is leave fireworks to the pros and watch the displays on Independence Day.


But, Stepsis is also a realist and knows that you’ll probably want to shoot off some fireworks yourself. So, he said, be safe.

“Make sure there’s a healthy safe zone, meaning not too close to any structures including your house or other things that could burn up,” he said. “Make sure only adults that are not intoxicated are doing fireworks and make sure kids are not handling fireworks at all.”

He said that includes sparklers, which can cause severe burns. They use a chemical that burns at 2,000 degrees, to cause the sparks.

Stepsis said one of the cases he remembers most that he dealt with personally was a group of kids who shot off bottle rockets on an enclosed trampoline. He said there were serious eye injuries and burns to the kids’ torsos.

PHOTO: Thinkstock/Marian Vejcik