May 31, 2018, 9:52:08 AM CDT May 30, 2024, 3:24:15 PM CDT

A guide to fireworks safety

6 tips to keep summertime celebrations safe for kids

Little girl playing with sparkler firework Little girl playing with sparkler firework

For many, the Juneteenth and Fourth of July holidays are a highlight of summer – and fireworks are often part of the festivities. However, at-home fireworks can be dangerous for children and teens. More than 10,000 people are treated for fireworks injuries in emergency departments in the U.S. each year. Of these, nearly a third are children under age 15.

The safest option is to skip fireworks at home and instead, watch a local firework show or celebrate without fireworks. If you choose to make fireworks part of your celebration, follow these firework safety tips from the Children's Health℠ Injury Prevention team to keep your family safe and injury-free.

6 fireworks safety tips

1. Purchase legal fireworks

Fireworks are illegal in many parts of Texas, including most major cities (unless you have a permit for a professional firework display).

If fireworks are legal in your area and you choose to use fireworks at home, only purchase legal fireworks from a reputable dealer. Avoid fireworks meant for professional displays, and never tamper with the products. Read and carefully follow the instructions listed on the safety label to reduce your chances of fireworks injuries.

2. Never give young children fireworks

Never let young children touch or light fireworks. Keep children at least 10 feet from the area where fireworks are lit. Even bottle rockets and sparklers can be dangerous for young children. Sparklers may seem harmless, but they can reach temperatures up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. As an alternative, give small kids glow sticks.

3. Handle fireworks with care

Never point fireworks at another person, carry fireworks in your pocket or wear loose clothing around fireworks. Make sure to pull back long hair before lighting fireworks.

If you are going to light a firework, make sure no one is in the immediate vicinity. It's also a good idea to keep fireworks a good distance away from plants, cars and other objects. If you are letting older children or teens handle fireworks, make sure they understand how to handle them safely and that you supervise them closely.

4. Have water at the ready

Keep a bucket of water nearby and/or a hose handy for emergencies and to soak your used fireworks before disposing of them in a trash can.

5. Never relight a firework that did not go off

If you lit a firework and it did not go off, wait at least 15 minutes and do not touch it or try to relight it. After 15 minutes, spray it with the hose or soak it in water and dispose of it in a trash can. Be sure to get rid of any unused fireworks in the same way.

6. Skip the at-home fireworks

If you're worried about fireworks safety, the best thing to do is to skip the at-home fireworks altogether. Instead, consider taking your child to a local firework show or celebrating without fireworks.

If you decide to attend a local firework show, help young children understand what to expect. Let them know that there will be loud noises, bright lights and likely lots of people. This can help children, especially those who are sensitive to lights, sounds and crowds, be prepared.

The National Safety Council provides more tips for keeping your family safe around fireworks.

What are the most common fireworks injuries?

Burns on the hands, fingers and arms are some of the most common fireworks injuries. They are frequently caused by holding a lit firework when it goes off. Burns can also occur when sparks from sparklers fly off and land on skin or clothing. Eye injuries may happen if a firework hits someone in the face or head.

What should I do if my child is injured by a firework?

You can treat small cuts or scrapes at home. Be sure to disinfect the wound and cover it with a clean bandage. For anything more serious, including larger burns, sprains, broken bones or suspected concussions, be sure to bring your child to your doctor or hospital right away. In the case of an eye injury, ensure your child does not touch or rub the area, as this can worsen the injury.

Learn more

Children's Health is by your side keeping your family healthy and safe this summer. See more summer safety tips.

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