For many, the Juneteenth and Fourth of July holidays are a highlight of summer – and fireworks are often part of the festivities. Because of how common they are, many parents may think at-home fireworks are harmless for their children, but that is, unfortunately, not true. More than 10,000 people are treated in emergency departments in the U.S. each year due to fireworks injuries. Of these, nearly a third are children under age 15.
If you choose to make fireworks part of your celebration, follow these Juneteenth and 4th of July safety tips from the Children's Health℠ Injury Prevention team to keep your family safe and injury-free.
7 fireworks safety tips
- If 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 a firework-related injury.
- Never give small children bottle rockets or sparklers. Sparklers may seem harmless, but they can reach temperatures up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. As an alternative, give kids glow sticks.
- Never let young children touch or light fireworks. Keep children at least 10 feet from the area where fireworks are lit. In addition, never point fireworks at another person, carry fireworks in your pocket or wear loose clothing around fireworks.
- As a rule, keep a bucket of water or a hose handy for emergencies and for disposing of fireworks.
- Never relight a firework that did not go off. Wait at least 15 minutes, soak the firework in water and dispose of it in a trash can. Be sure to get rid of any unused fireworks in the same way.
- If at-home fireworks feel unsafe for your family, skip them altogether and opt for a local fireworks display.
- If you choose to go to a show, explain what will happen to your young children, who could become frightened of the noise and lights.
The National Safety Council provides more tips for keeping your family safe around fireworks.
What are the most common fireworks-related injuries?
Firework injuries often occur to the hands and arms and are frequently caused by holding a lit firework when it goes off. As a result, these injuries are often burns. 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.
Children's Health is by your side keeping your family healthy and safe this summer. See more summer safety tips.