Fourth of July Fireworks Safety Tips: How to Enjoy This Holiday Free of Burns and Injuries

About 62 percent of fireworks-related injuries occur in the month period surrounding the Fourth of July

Fireworks Safety Tips: Ensuring and Safe and Injury-Free Fourth of July
Image: Pexels
July 1, 2019

Ask any kid what the Fourth of July means and you'll probably hear something about fireworks. While adults know that Independence Day means more than fireworks, they have become synonymous with celebrating this special day. Whether you are breaking out the fireworks yourself or watching a show, get to know basic fireworks safety so you can enjoy the day without severe or even fatal injuries.

Fireworks-Related Injuries and Deaths statistics

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were about 9,100 injuries related to fireworks that resulted in an emergency department visit in 2018. About 5,600 fireworks-related injuries (or 62 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2018) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the 1-month period between June 22, 2018 and July 22, 2018. Forty-four percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers, and arms.

Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36 percent of the estimated injuries. Similar to 2017, nearly half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age. Children 10 to 14 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries (5.2 injuries per 100,000 people). Older teens, 15 to 19 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate (3.1 injuries per 100,000 people).

Fireworks Safety Tips

If you plan on including fireworks in your Fourth of July celebration, be sure to keep the following things in mind:

  • Don't use drugs or alcohol when working with fireworks.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Older children should be supervised at all times. Parents don't realize that young children frequently suffer injuries from sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
  • Always wear eye protection.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and can pose a much higher level of danger.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when igniting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after igniting fireworks.
  • Ignite fireworks one at a time.
  • Do not hold fireworks that are not meant to be held.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully or that appear to be malfunctioning. Wait twenty minutes and then place it in a bucket of water.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at anyone. They should always be pointed in a safe direction.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, soak the spent device in a bucket of water for several hours before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.