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How to stay safe using fireworks for the July 4th holiday

people celebrating the new year on the beach with sparkler
franckreporter/Getty Images
People celebrating the on the beach with sparkler

Every year, thousands of children, teens, and young adults are injured while using fireworks. Most of these injuries happen around the 4th of July.

According to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there’s been a rise in fireworks-related injuries, with incidences increasing by 25% within six years. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also found that nationally, close to half of the fireworks-related injuries were to people younger than 24 years of age.

Common causes of fireworks-related injuries are:

  • A fast-fuse firecracker explodes before it can be thrown.
  • A misguided rocket strikes a bystander.
  • A curious youngster investigates why a firecracker “failed” to explode.

“As we celebrate this 4th of July with family and friends, it’s important that everyone take proper precautions to keep each other safe,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “New Yorkers should exercise caution while using legal sparkling devices and enjoy this special day.”
Sparkling devices are ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise, and smoke. The law limits the type, size, and construction of sparkling devices and requires that these devices be handheld or mounted on a base or spike and limited in sizes ranging from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.

Tips for Using Fireworks Safely:

  1. Children and sparklers are a dangerous combination. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt some metals.
  2. Never throw or point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  3. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  4. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  5. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  6. Always use fireworks outdoors. Never light sparklers or fireworks inside.
  7. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  8. If you are impaired by alcohol, don’t use fireworks.

While avoiding the use of illegal fireworks is the best way to prevent injury, people can also take precautions while watching professional fireworks displays. These include using earplugs to protect hearing, keeping a safe distance from the launch site, and leaving pets at home. If your pet is nervous around fireworks at home, please consult your veterinarian for ways to protect and comfort them.