Health & Lifestyle

Fourth of July firework safety tips: What to know

Fireworks are a Fourth of July staple. 

Families from across the country settle into a comfy spot on a blanket, a bleacher or even a boat to catch a Fourth of July fireworks display. 

The tradition of lighting off fireworks on the holiday is one that dates back to 1777, when the first Fourth of July fireworks beamed through the sky. 

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Unfortunately, the beautiful sight can also be dangerous if fireworks are not properly handled. 

As many Americans look forward to celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends, injuries with fireworks have become all too common.

Girl watches the 4th of July fireworks

Fireworks are a Fourth of July staple, but can be dangerous if not handled with care. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

“It’s imperative that consumers know the risks involved in using fireworks, so injuries and tragedies can be prevented. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays,” said Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric in a press release in a CPSC report. 

Approximately 10,200 people went to the emergency room for injuries related to fireworks in 2022, per the report, and there were 11 deaths reported.  

Girl wearing 4th of July attire

Lots of kids enjoy firework displays — and it is vital to keep them safe during such shows. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Seventy-three percent of all firework-related injuries in 2022 occurred a few weeks prior to and after July 4 last year, with most of the injuries being from firecrackers. 

Hands and fingers were the most common part of the body injured, followed by the head, face and ears. 

A University of Michigan national poll reminds people that children also need to be aware of firework safety.

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“For many families, setting off fireworks is a favorite summer tradition, but fireworks are unpredictable. It’s essential that parents keep children far away from where those fireworks are set off,” said Sarah Clark, the co-director of a recent University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.  

Community celebrates Fourth of July

Professional firework shows are the safest ones for viewing. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“Parents need to ensure children are at the right age and maturity level to understand the dangers involved and importance of carefully following all safety rules. If the child is not ready to do these things, their risk of burns, eye injuries and other accidents is increased.”

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Parents often see sparklers as a safer alternative for kids, but there were 600 emergency-department related injuries due to sparklers in 2022, per the CPSC report.  

Sparklers can burn at over 1,000 degrees, which can lead to serious injuries if not handled the right way, Clark said. 

Los Angeles fireworks show

There are an abundance of safety tips that should be followed during the lighting of fireworks.  (Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images)

“Parents may believe that sparklers are a safe way for younger children to enjoy summer celebrations. But these are handheld fireworks that can reach temperatures hot enough to burn some metals,” Clark said in the press release. 

“Sparklers are only safe if parents enforce all safety measures and children follow them.” 

Here are some other firework safety tips from the press release: 

  • Only purchase legal fireworks that are labeled for consumer use
  • Light fireworks one at a time
  • Don’t try to relight a firework
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Have a bucket of water or garden hose in case of emergency
  • Never throw fireworks at anyone
  • Make sure the fireworks are legal in your area

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