4th of July Fireworks Safety Tips: What You Need to Know

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As many Americans look forward to celebrating Fourth of July According to a new report from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which looked at firework injuries last year, firework injuries in the US increased by 25% between 2006 and 2021.

“It is imperative that consumers are aware of the risks associated with the use of fireworks so that injuries and tragedies can be prevented. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch professional performances,” said CPSC Chairman Alex Hen-Sharik in a press release on the report.

Spectators watch the 45th annual Macy's July 4th fireworks display overlooking the Manhattan skyline at Long Island City's Gantry State Plaza on July 4th in New York City's Queens neighborhood.

Spectators watch the 45th annual Macy’s July 4th fireworks display overlooking the Manhattan skyline at Long Island City’s Gantry State Plaza on July 4th in New York City’s Queens neighborhood.
(Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

“CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations continues to work closely with other federal agencies to prevent the sale of illegal consumer fireworks.”

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Approximately 11,500 people went to emergency room for injuries associated with fireworks in 2021, down from 15,600 emergency departments treating injuries in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic when many public performances were canceled, according to the report.

74% of all firework-related injuries in 2021 occurred in the weeks before and after last July 4, with the highest rate of emergency department visits occurring in the 20-24 age group.

A young man wearing US flag clothes smiles on the deck of the historic steamboat Belle of Louisville during the Fourth of July fireworks cruise on July 4, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.

A young man wearing US flag clothes smiles on the deck of the historic steamboat Belle of Louisville during the Fourth of July fireworks cruise on July 4, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky.
(John Cherry/Getty Images)

The hands and fingers were the most frequently injured body parts, followed by the head, face and ears in 2021. Approximately 34% of injuries occur in the arms, legs or torso.

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Approximately one-third of firework-related injuries treated by emergency departments in 2021 were burn-related, according to the report, while an estimated 31% of selected and tested fireworks contained noncompliant components.

And the University of Michigan National Poll recalls that children should also know about the safety of fireworks.

“For many families, fireworks launches are a favorite summer tradition, but fireworks are unpredictable. It is very important that parents keep their children away from the place where these fireworks are launched,” said Sarah Clark, co-director of the recent University of Michigan. Health CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Children’s Health Survey.

“Our survey suggests that some parents may need to be more diligent to provide a safe environment that minimizes these risks and protects children from firework injuries.”

More than half of the parents in the survey reported that a family member or neighbor had set off fireworks in the previous two years.

But the survey showed that only one in five children were at least 100 feet away from the fireworks launch site.

“Parents disagree over what age they will let their child participate in fireworks launches,” Clarke said in a press release.

“But parents need to make sure their children are at the right age and maturity level to understand the dangers involved and the importance of carefully following all safety rules. If a child is not prepared to do these things, their risk of burns, eye injury, and other accidents is increased. ”

People gather on Main Street to watch fireworks during Independence Day celebrations on July 4, 2021 in Sweetwater, Tennessee.

People gather on Main Street to watch fireworks during Independence Day celebrations on July 4, 2021 in Sweetwater, Tennessee.
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Parents often view sparklers as a safer alternative for kids, but according to a CPSC report, there were 1,100 emergency room-related injuries due to sparklers in 2021.

According to Clarke, sparklers can burn at over 1,000 degrees, which can cause serious burns if handled incorrectly.

“Children should keep a sparkler at arm’s length from their own eyes, hair and clothing. Much of the fun of sparklers comes from twirling or swinging them around, which can make it difficult for parents to ensure sufficient distance between children.” according to the Mott poll report.

“Parents may think that sparklers are a safe way for younger children to enjoy the summer holidays. But these are hand-held fireworks that can get hot enough to burn some metals,” Clarke said in a press release.

“Sparklers are only safe if parents follow all safety precautions and children follow them.”

Here are some others fireworks safety tips from the press release:

  • Buy only legal fireworks designed for consumer use.
  • Use safety goggles when launching fireworks.
  • Be at least 100 feet away from fireworks launch sites.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never point or throw fireworks or sparklers at anyone.
  • Have a bucket of water or a garden hose available in case of an emergency.
  • Place the sparkler in a bucket of water after use.
  • Make sure kids wear shoes around fireworks.

“Be ready to give first aid. For a minor burn, place a towel soaked in cool water over the affected area for about five minutes. Then cover with a clean bandage and give the child acetaminophen to reduce pain and swelling.

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“In the event of a severe burn or eye burn, take the child to the emergency room immediately.”