What are some fireworks safety tips?

Fireworks add festivity to a Fourth of July celebration, but a public fireworks display is safer and more dazzling than trying to do it yourself. Keep in mind that:

  • Fireworks and sparklers should be handled by trained professionals. Sparklers can get as hot as 1,200 degrees!
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from the display.
  • Remind children that if they find used fireworks or sparklers—do not touch!

Three important tips for fireworks safety are:

  • Keep a safe distance from fireworks.
  • Always follow fireworks directions.
  • Use common sense.

Fireworks are a July 4th favorite, but it’s very important to leave fireworks to the professionals. Each July 4th, thousands of people, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the risks including devastating burns, other injuries, fires and death. As a pediatrician, at a major medical center, I have seen horrible burns and injuries, often in children and teens from fireworks.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges families NOT to buy fireworks for their own or their children's use. Please continue to enjoy public firework displays conducted by trained professionals.

Have a Happy 4th of July!

Kids should never play with fireworks. Sparklers, firecrackers and rockets can all reach very hot temperatures (up to 1,800 degrees). Keep them outside and away from faces, clothing and hair. Buy only legal fireworks at firework stores. Never make your own homemade versions. Point fireworks away from people, trees and houses. Light one at a time and never re-light a dud. Soak fireworks with water before throwing them away. Keep pets away; they can get frightened by loud noises. If anyone is injured, call for help right away. Lastly, leave the fireworks shows to the professionals! 

The following safety tips can help prevent burns when igniting fireworks: 

  • Never light fireworks indoors or within closed-in areas. Fireworks are for outdoor use only.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from where fireworks are being lit.
  • Observers should be a safe distance from the fireworks and remain there until the fireworks are extinguished.
  • Fireworks may backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction, so encourage observers to be alert and watch.
  • Never allow children to light fireworks. This should be done only by a responsible adult.
  • Tie long hair back, wear safety goggles and fitted clothing when lighting fireworks to avoid injury and fire.
  • Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from houses, dry leaves and other flammable materials.
  • Make sure the fireworks are pointing to the sky and not to the side.
  • Avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket—the friction could cause them to ignite.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never lean over the top of fireworks to light them.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a glass or metal container.
  • Fireworks should never be thrown or held in a person's hands while being lit.

An individual who sustains a burn from fireworks should seek emergency medical care when the burn is larger than the size of the palm of a hand; when the burn is on the face, hands, feet or genitals; or when the burn is white, leathery or painless.

Remember, injury prevention is the only cure for trauma. If you or someone you are with experiences a burn or other serious injury the holiday weekend, go to the nearest emergency room immediately. In the case of a life-threatening injury, call 911 immediately.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.