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Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are a big part of summer celebrations with family and friends. They bring excitement and joy, but they can also be dangerous. It’s important to stay safe when using fireworks. This guide will give you simple tips to make sure your celebrations are fun and safe for everyone.

Fireworks can be dangerous

Fireworks can be a dazzling way to celebrate, but it's important to remember they can also be dangerous. Here are some key statistics to keep in mind:

  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that around 64% of all reported fireworks injuries occur in just one month: July. This is why it’s important to take extra caution during the Fourth of July holiday.
  • According to the latest CPSC data (2022), there were an estimated 10,200 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.
  • The CPSC also warns about the dangers of homemade and illegal fireworks, which are especially risky and lead to a higher number of injuries. 

Who needs to take extra caution?

Understanding who is most at risk for fireworks injuries can help us prevent accidents:

  • Gender: Boys are more likely to get hurt by fireworks than girls. In 2022, 71% of visits to the emergency room for fireworks injuries involved boys.
  • Age: Kids under 15 years old are especially at risk. Even though fireworks can hurt anyone, many injuries happen to young children.
  • Common injury areas: Fireworks can hurt different parts of the body, but some areas are more likely to get injured:
    • Hands and fingers (about 29% of injuries)
    • Head, face and ears (about 19% of injuries)
    • Legs (about 19% of injuries)
    • Eyes (about 16% of injuries)

Understanding these risks can help us all stay safer around fireworks.

Types of firework injuries

Fireworks can cause several common injuries that are serious and need medical attention:

  • Burns: Burns are the most common injury from fireworks. They can range from minor burns to severe burns that need surgery.
  • Eye injuries: Fireworks can cause eye injuries such as burns, cuts and even blindness. It's important to protect your eyes around fireworks.
  • Lacerations: Sharp pieces from fireworks can cut the skin, causing lacerations that may need stitches.

These injuries can lead to lasting problems like permanent scars or loss of vision. Always handle fireworks carefully to avoid these risks.

Types of fireworks most associated with injuries

Some types of fireworks are more likely to cause injuries, especially to young children:

  • Sparklers: Sparklers may seem harmless, but they burn at very high temperatures (over 1,000°F). They are responsible for a significant number of injuries, especially among young children who may not understand their danger.
  • Firecrackers: These can explode unexpectedly, causing burns and injuries to hands and face.
  • Bottle rockets: Bottle rockets can fly unpredictably and cause eye injuries or burns if they hit someone.

It's important to handle all fireworks with care, but especially these types that are more likely to cause harm, particularly to children.

Causes of injuries

Firework injuries happen for several reasons:

  • Proximity: Getting too close to fireworks when they explode can lead to injuries. This often happens when someone leans in too close or tries to handle fireworks that haven't ignited properly.
  • Lack of coordination: Young children may not have the coordination to handle fireworks safely. This can lead to accidents when they try to use fireworks on their own.
  • Curiosity: Children are naturally curious about fireworks, which can lead them to pick up or play with fireworks that are still dangerous.
  • Homemade fireworks: Homemade fireworks are especially risky because they can be unpredictable. They may not explode as expected, leading to unexpected injuries or accidents.

It's important to always follow safety guidelines and supervise children around fireworks to prevent these types of accidents.

Fireworks laws and regulations

Fireworks are regulated by federal laws to ensure safety:

  • Federal regulations: Under the Hazardous Substances Act, certain types of fireworks are banned due to their high risk. These include large aerial devices, M-80s, quarter-sticks and other large firecrackers.
  • Banned fireworks: Firecrackers with more than 50 milligrams of explosive powder and aerial fireworks with more than 130 milligrams of flash powder are prohibited.
  • Importance of legal purchase: Buy fireworks only from licensed dealers. Legal fireworks are tested for safety and meet standards to reduce the risk of accidents.

Following these regulations helps ensure that fireworks are used safely and responsibly, protecting both individuals and communities.

Preventing fireworks injuries

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is by attending professional displays managed by trained experts. These displays follow strict safety protocols.

  • If you choose to enjoy your fireworks at home, make sure to follow these safety tips:
  • Always have adults supervise firework activities, especially with children.
  • Keep a safe distance from fireworks when they're lit. Follow recommended distances to avoid injuries.
  • Never hold fireworks in your hands or point them at people. Use a long lighter or punk to light them, then move away quickly.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby to extinguish fireworks or in case of fire.
  • Light one firework at a time and move away immediately.
  • After fireworks have burned out, soak them in water before disposing of them to prevent accidental fires.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy fireworks safely while reducing the risk of injuries to yourself and others.

What to do in case of injury

If someone is injured by fireworks, follow these immediate steps:

  1. If the injury is a burn, immediately cool it with cool (not cold) water for at least 5 minutes. This helps stop the burning process.
  2. Remove any clothing or jewelry near the injured area, unless it's stuck to the skin.
  3. Cover the burn or wound with a clean, dry cloth or bandage. Avoid using cotton balls or fluffy materials that can stick to the injury.
  4. Even if the injury seems minor, seek medical help promptly. Some injuries, especially eye injuries or burns, may need specialized care to prevent complications.
  5. Do not apply ice, butter, or ointments to the injury. These can make the injury worse.
  6. If transporting the injured person, keep the injured area elevated and avoid putting pressure on it.
  7. Stay calm and reassure the injured person. Shock can make injuries worse, so try to keep them calm and comfortable until medical help arrives.


Fireworks can bring excitement to celebrations, but they also pose risks. Remember these key points to stay safe:

  • Attend professional displays managed by experts for the safest experience.
  • If using fireworks at home, follow safety guidelines closely, supervise children and handle fireworks with care.
  • Know and obey local laws and regulations regarding fireworks.

By celebrating responsibly, you can ensure a fun and safe experience for everyone. 

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