Play it Safe this 4th of July – Fireworks Safety Tips


Bright, colorful lights explode in the night sky, and then fade into the darkness.

Nothing compares to the dazzling fun of fireworks.

But playing with fireworks or having a display at home can be dangerous. Among the potential risks:

  • Eye damage and permanent blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of hands and fingers
  • Severe burns to the face and other parts of the body

To keep children and families safe, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends viewing fireworks at public displays that are conducted by professionals rather than purchasing fireworks for home or private use.

Play it safe

If consumer fireworks are legal where you live and you choose to use them, despite the risks, take these safety steps from the AAP, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the National Council on Fireworks Safety and other expert sources:

Choose wisely

  • Buy only from reputable dealers. Never purchase or use illegal or unlabeled fireworks.
  • Never try to make your own fireworks. And don’t purchase kits for making them. Mixing chemicals is dangerous.

Store safely

  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
  • Don’t carry fireworks in your pockets.

Keep away from kids

  • Never let small children play with fireworks (even sparklers can be dangerous). Have a responsible adult closely supervise older children at all times. Discuss the dangers of handling fireworks with children and family.
  • Teach children to never pick up fireworks that are charred, smoking or left over. Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to immediately explode or discharge can cause injury because they may still be active.

Use carefully

  • Read the labels and follow all warning instructions.
  • Keep a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher handy in case of emergencies.
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors, in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass, and flammable materials.
  • Light one firework at a time. Stand several feet away, and make sure other people are out of range.
  • Never try to relight or handle a dud firework. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water and throw it away in a trash can.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at another person.
  • Never try to shoot fireworks out of containers, especially those made of metal or glass. The fragments can cause severe injury.
  • Avoid alcohol. It contributes to a higher incidence of fireworks-related injuries.

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