Summer means picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays,
espec-ially around the 4th of July. Summer also means an increase
in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires and fireworks. In 2005, an
estimated 10,800 people were treated in emergency rooms for
fireworks-related injuries, nearly half of whom were under 15 years
Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of
fireworks injuries than the general population. About a third of the
injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets
and 20 percent from sparklers. In 2004, fireworks caused $21 million in
direct property damage.
The National Safety Council advises that the best way to safely enjoy
this 4th of July is to watch a public fireworks display conducted by
However, if fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
- Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials.
- Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.
- Never ignite devices in a container.
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks; douse and soak them with water and discard them safely.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
Editor's note: Permission to reprint granted by the National Safety
Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and
Friday, July 3, 2009