It is an American tradition to use fireworks to celebrate holidays, especially the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. Viewing professional displays is a safe way to enjoy fireworks but personal use of fireworks is hazardous and can cause injury.
In Texas it is legal to sell fireworks but this does not reduce the risk. Legal consumer fireworks comply with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations but are still classified as hazardous substances under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
The CPSC reports:
- Nearly 70 percent of all fireworks-related injuries take place around the Fourth of July holiday
- More that 50 percent of those injuries occur to children and teenagers
- The top three injury-causing fireworks are firecrackers, sparklers and rockets. Those fireworks account for nearly half of all injuries
- In 2004, there were 9,600 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks
CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton said, “Parents often don’t realize that sparklers, for instance, burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. The best way parents can keep their children safe is never allow young children to ignite or handle fireworks of any kind. Children most often suffer burns, laceration and eye injuries.”
Fireworks-related injuries most frequently involve hands and fingers, eyes and the head and face. More than half of the injuries are burns. Contusions and lacerations are the second most frequent injuries. Fireworks can also cause life-threatening fires.
The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.
If you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
- An adult should always supervise
- Only buy from reliable sellers
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks
- Always read and follow label directions and warnings
- Check with local authorities to determine local laws and restrictions
- Check on burn ban status
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a malfunction or fire
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and other flammable materials
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Do not allow any running or horseplay
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
- Always wear eye protection
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them