Fireworks Safety: Keep Kids Safe This Fourth Of July
Fireworks make me nervous. All that explosive power in the hands of random individuals doesn’t make me at ease. They may be beautiful, traditional ways of celebrating, especially this time of year, but that doesn’t make me comfortable when it comes to kids being nearby these dangerous items.
Fireworks Safety Can Prevent Injuries
Emergency-department treated, fireworks-related injuries affect the 20-24-year-old age group the most, but the next most affected age group are those kids from ages 5-9. (1) These are the ones that usually are “supervised” by us parents! And they still get injured! Many families feel that if they simply don’t let the kids ignite the fireworks or if they are supervising the activity, things will be fine. This is not the case.
The injuries caused by fireworks range from cuts/scrapes/burns to blindness/deafness and death. Even the sparklers (which seem mild compared to bottle rockets, etc.), are dangerous—the tip can reach 1000-1200 degrees Fahrenheit, and they alone cause 13% of all emergency department-treated fireworks injuries. (1)
How to Practice Fireworks Safety
For those adults who are determined to have their own display remember:
- Adults only when it comes to igniting fireworks
- Make sure you are in an open area (outdoors) with flat/level ground
- Wear safety glasses
- Don’t trust a dud – wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water
- Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks
- Don’t buy illegal fireworks or ones from unreliable sources
Should You Light Off Fireworks At All?
Despite these tips, there really is no way to ensure total safety around fireworks. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that it is safest to leave the fireworks to the professionals. In fact, the AAP (as well as many other professional organizations) support the ban of fireworks sales for individual, private use.
We are lucky to have a plethora of events that have public displays of professional fireworks. These are the safest way to enjoy fireworks with kids.
Originally Published: June 2014. Revised January 2023.
Laura Denning is a certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at CHI Health West Broadway Clinic. To schedule an appointment with Laura, please visit her provider profile.