Boom, crackle, pop! We all love the sound of fireworks and celebration on the Fourth of July! However, let’s remember to enjoy them carefully! Almost 10,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for firework related injuries each year. Almost 40% are under the age of 15! The best way to protect your family and friends is to attend a public fireworks display- let the professionals light up the sky! If choosing to do your own display, remember these tips to make a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.

Lay the Groundwork:

  • Review the safety rules with everyone in attendance!
  • Some tips seem logical, but everyone can use a refresher! And after the fact is always too late. 

Be Legal:

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area and know your neighborhood regulations.
  • Only buy legal fireworks. Legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturers name and directions for use. Illegal ones are usually unlabeled and often go by names “M80,” “M100,” “Blockbuster,” or “Quarterpounder.” These were banned in 1996.
  • Never make homemade fireworks! This leads to dangerous or unpredictable explosions. 

Sparkle Safely:

  • Almost 25% of injuries are due to sparklers. Sparklers can heat up to 1800 degrees and can even melt glass and gold!
  • Keep close supervision at all times. Children under age 12 should not use sparklers.
  • Keep sparklers away from loose clothing, face and hair. These items can ignite if too close to sparklers!
  • Make sure each person holding a sparkler is a good distance from each other.
  • For little ones, use glow sticks! Their arms are too short to hold sparklers and pose a burn risk.

Dress the Part:

  • Don’t wear loose clothing while using fireworks. 
  • Make sure hair is pulled back if using sparklers.
  • If you have pockets, never carry a firework in one. Even friction can set one off!

Light Up the Sky Right:

  • Never allow children to handle fireworks.
  • Light in a clear area.
  • Only light one device at a time.
  • Maintain safe distance after lighting, standing several feet away from a lit firework.
  • Never ignite a firework in a container, not even metal or glass containers that may seem sturdy. A dangerous explosion can blast glass quite a distance!
  • Never hold a firework in your hand while lighting.
  • Never light indoors or near dry grass
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. 

Point Away:

  • The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 50,000 fires are caused by fireworks each year!
  • Point fireworks away from homes to prevent fire and damage. Keep away from brush, leaves, and flammable substances that could also set fire.
  • Never throw or point a firework at someone, not even in jest!

Steer Clear:

  • Whether bottle rockets or small or large fireworks, be aware of misguided firework paths! Fireworks are known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong directions. A misguided bottle rocket can easily hit someone nearby.
  • Never stand over a firework. Many injuries occur if someone leans over to see if a firework is lit.
  • If a “dud” doesn’t go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or fire extinguisher near and know how to operate the extinguisher beforehand.
  • Keep adults and kids out of the firework lighting area. Don’t allow running or horseplay while fireworks are being used. 

Clean Up Carefully:

  • After the celebration, do not allow children to pick up the fireworks. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Soak all used fireworks in water before putting them in the trash to avoid trash fires. 

Remember Your Pets:

  • Some pets have sensitive ears and can become frightened or stressed. Reducing their exposure to the loud sounds may lower the risk they will run loose or get injured if running into the line of a firework.

Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed! You will enjoy them much more knowing your family is safe. If you use these safety tips and precautions, your Fourth of July will be a blast!