Important Fireworks Safety Tips For Parents

kids watching fireworks

The July 4 holiday means festivities, celebrations and fireworks to commemorate the nation’s independence.

If you’re not going to a professional show and instead are planning on firing them off from your own backyard, be warned that they are incredibly dangerous.

Many people - including children and teens – will be injured while using consumer fireworks.

In 2016 alone, there were at least four deaths and 11,100 injuries from fireworks-related incidents, with over 30 percent of injuries involving children, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

Because fireworks hold such a high risk for serious burns, fires, and eye injuries, many organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association, recommend people avoid consumer fireworks entirely and enjoy public displays put on by professionals.

If you insist on lighting them yourself, commit these safety tips to memory so you can prevent yourself, family members, and friends from getting hurt.

family watching fireworks
Credit: iStock / nd3000

1. Make sure the fireworks you buy are legal. Legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer's name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarterpounder, according to KidsHealth.org.

2. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

3. Light fireworks in an open, clear area away from cars and buildings. Try to minimize contact with things that could catch fire. Have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.

4. Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Don't carry fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.

5. Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks. Bottle rockets are notorious for shooting into people's eyes, so keep them covered whenever possible.

6. Don’t allow children to play with fireworks. If you must give your children sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F (982°C) — hot enough to melt gold.

7. Never re-light a "dud" firework. Wait at least 20 minutes before handling it, then soak it in a bucket of water. Keep buckets of water or a hose nearby at all times.

8. When you're done, douse all firework devices with water. You don't want a trash fire on your hands.

9. Don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after they’re done; some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.

If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary. If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital.

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