Fourth of July Safety Tips on Fireworks

Here are a few suggestions on how to stay safe this holiday.

Posted: 07/03/2012 05:39 PM EDT

Celebrating the Fourth of July means going to the beach, fireworks and having a great time with family and friends. But this holiday can also be fraught with accidents, especially when it comes to setting off firecrackers at home.


According to a U.S. Fire Administration report, in 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries. Seventy-three percent of these injuries occurred between June 18 and July 18. Here are a few examples of who was injured and how:


—65 percent were men and 35 percent were women.

—Children under 15 years old accounted for 40 percent of the estimated injuries.

—Children and young adults under 20 years old had 53 percent of the estimated injuries.

—An estimated 900 injuries were associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 30 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 17 percent with illegal firecrackers and 53 percent were unknown firecracker types.

—An estimated 1,200 injuries were associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.

—The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (30 percent), legs (22 percent), eyes (21 percent), and head, face and ears (16 percent).

—More than half of the injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye occurred more frequently.


Firecrackers may be fun, but they are not toys. Here are some tips on handling them.


—Always read the directions carefully. Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to combine them or experiment with them.

—Never set fireworks off without adult supervision.

—Light one at a time.

—Never throw a firework at someone.

—Have a bucket of water and hose available in case a fire starts.

—Keep a safe distance — 25 feet — from where you are setting off the firework.

—NEVER light near dry grass or other flammable things.

—Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix. If you are going to drink, ask someone sober to be in charge of setting them off.

—Children under the age of 12 SHOULD NOT play with sparklers. 

—Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

—Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.


Learn more about firecrackers/fireworks safety here.



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