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The Dos and Don'ts of Fireworks Safety

Although you may look forward to an impressive fireworks display on July 4th, it's best to leave the show to the professionals. Fireworks sent nearly 13,000 people to the hospital in 2017, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The majority of these injuries occurred in the month surrounding Independence Day. But that's not the only time firework injuries occur. Labor Day, New Year's Eve and Memorial Day are other common times.

Of firework-related injuries reported, about half are burns, with most involving the hands, eyes and head. Nearly 50% of all fireworks victims are adults, but about 25% are under 15 years old. Sparklers are the main source of injury in children under age five. You may think they're relatively safe, but they burn at very high temperatures (about 2,000 degrees) and are the second highest cause of firework injuries requiring hospitalization.

Keep in mind that when it comes to fireworks, no one is safe. Although you may be more likely to be injured if you're the one lighting the fireworks, it's estimated that nearly 40% of fireworks injuries happen to bystanders.

So other than staying away from fireworks completely, how can you make it less likely you'll be injured?

10 Fireworks Safety Tips:

  1. Do keep a bucket of water, hose or fire extinguisher nearby when lighting fireworks
  2. Don't pick up fireworks that fail to go off or try to relight them
  3. Don't light fireworks, including sparklers, near anything flammable, such as dry leaves or grass, gasoline, etc.
  4. Don't light more than one firework at a time
  5. Do move away quickly after lighting fireworks
  6. Don't point fireworks towards any person
  7. Don't light fireworks in a container or indoors
  8. Don't let young children play with any type of fireworks, including sparklers
  9. Do require adult supervision when older children use fireworks
  10. Don't use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs

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Date Last Reviewed: May 16, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD
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