Fireworks light up the night sky on the 4th of July in the United States to celebrate Independence Day. Millions around the U.S. will watch a professional display, but others still enjoy their own fireworks. This can be a lot of fun too, as long as safety is top-of-mind.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission:
- Fireworks were involved in an estimated 8,700 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2012.
- An estimated 5,200 fireworks-related injuries (60% of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2012) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during a one-month special study period between June 22, 2012 and July 22, 2012.
- Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for approximately 30% of the estimated 2012 injuries. 46% of the estimated emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
- There were an estimated 1,200 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 31% were associated with small firecrackers, an estimated 19% with illegal firecrackers, and an estimated 50% with firecrackers for which there was no specific information.
- There were an estimated 600 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.
If you plan on using fireworks on your own this year, be sure to check with your local government so you know if it's legal to use fireworks within city limits. In some cases, the use of certain types of fireworks may be allowed but using other types may be illegal. In addition, practice these safety tips to keep your family safe and to avoid fires:
- Never allow young children to ignite or go near fireworks
- Make sure there is adult supervision anytime fireworks are being lit
- Only shoot fireworks outside and have a hose or a bucket of water nearby
- Don't shoot fireworks near or towards people
- Don't shoot fireworks in an area where they can hit a house, bushes or anything flammable
- Never try to relight a firework that seems to have fizzled
- Keep pets indoors to prevent damage to their ears
- Put fireworks that have ignited in a bucket of water before throwing them in a trash can
Of course, your safest option is to go see a professional public fireworks display instead. The types of fireworks used at these events are not generally available to the public, and they are only lit by professionals. Besides—these types of displays are generally larger and prettier than what you could do yourself, so why watch your hard-earned money go up in smoke?