Fourth of July is a day of fun. From spending time with friends and family to frolicking in the water be it ocean, lake or pool. And to top it all off, there is just something about lighting up the night sky.
Fireworks are fun and exciting for children (and adults). But fireworks also can result in injury, even a trip to the emergency room if you aren’t aware and careful. We’d like to share some fireworks safety tips.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks in 2020. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than 3,000 children under the age of 15 (a third of all injuries) are sent to the emergency room each year in the United States because of fireworks.
You may think that those injuries come from misuse of big fireworks by inexperienced people. Most fireworks injuries are actually caused by firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers that are legal and easy for people to purchase in most states.
For children under age 10, sparklers are the most frequent cause of fireworks injury. Fascinated by the bright sparks, children may wrap their hands around the stick, which can be as hot as 1,800 degrees.
The parts of the body most often injured were:
- hands and fingers (an estimated 33 percent);
- head, face, and ears (an estimated 20 percent);
- legs (an estimated 18 percent);
- eyes (an estimated 9 percent);
- and arms (an estimated 8 percent).
Usually injuries are burns. However, injuries to the eyes also include contusions and foreign objects in the eye.
Fireworks safety tips:
1. Leave Fireworks to the Professionals
- Attending a public event is the best way to protect your family
- Stay within the designated viewing area and keep kids at a distance from the lighting area
- Be ready to leave and have easy access in case your young children get frightened from the loud noises
2. Use an Alternative to Sparklers, especially with Young Children
- As already mentioned sparkler can heat up to 1,800 degrees and out of curiosity young children may want to touch the light. It’s best to use alternative for young children such as glow sticks. “They can be just as fun but they don’t burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass,” says Safe Kids Worldwide.
3. If You Do Celebrate with Fireworks on Your Own
- Take necessary precautions like not wearing loose clothing.
- Point the fireworks away from homes.
- Launch fireworks from the ground and away from dry grass or other flammable substances. (Do not lauch from your hand.)
- Light one at a time and stand back several feet after lighting the firework.
- If the device does not go off, dowse with water and dispose of it instead of standing over it to investigate why it didn’t go off.
- Always have a bucket of water and fire extinguisher ready.
- Wet all fireworks before throwing them in the trash can.
- Remind your children of stop, drop and roll in case their clothes are set on fire.
- If you or a child is injured, go directly to the ER. If an eye injury occurs, don’t touch or rub it; this may cause more damage.
Download our report: Common Car Seat Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Stay safe this Independence Day and remember to buckle up to and from all of your festivities.
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
Copyright 2022 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.
We originally published this post in July 2016. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.