It is estimated that 8,300 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks each year. Approximately fifty percent of the injuries are burns. Most of the injuries involve the hands, eyes, or head. Nearly half of the victims are under fifteen years of age. Prevent a needless tragedy! Leave fireworks to the professionals.
Federal & State Fireworks Regulations
To help prevent fireworks accidents, the federal government, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, prohibits the sale of the most dangerous types of fireworks to consumers. These banned fireworks include:
- Cherry bombs
- Large firecrackers with more than 2 grains of powder
- Large reloadable shells
- M-80 salutes
- Mail order kits designed to build fireworks
Make Sure Fireworks Are Permitted in Your Area
Before using fireworks, make sure they are permitted in your state or local area. Some state and local governments prohibit or limit common fireworks or firecrackers used by consumers., formerly referred to as Class C fireworks. Such fireworks include:
- firecrackers with no more than 50 mg. of powder.
- multiple tube devices
- novelty items such as snakes and airplanes
- roman candles
Fireworks & Child Safety
Only use legal fireworks with extreme caution. Older children should be closely supervised, and younger children should not be allowed to play with fireworks. Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
- Be sure other people and pets are out of range.
- Dispose of all fireworks properly.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas. Store them in a dry, cool place out of the reach of children.
- Keep water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on misfired or spent fireworks.
- Light fireworks outdoors, one at a time, on a clear, smooth, flat surface away from houses, dry leaves or grass, or flammable materials.
- Never experiment with fireworks or ignite them in a glass or metal container. DO NOT attempt to make your own.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
- Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close supervision. Never allow any running or horse play.
- Sparklers, considered by many as "safe", burn at very high temperatures, can easily ignite clothing, and stay hot long after burning out. They are as dangerous as matches or lighters to children. Be sure to collect all burned out sparkler wires for disposal.
- Use lighters with a child resistant feature. Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.
The American traditions of parades, cookouts, and fireworks help us celebrate the summer season, especially our nation's birthday on the Fourth of July. However, fireworks can turn a joyful holiday into a painful memory when children and adults are injured while incorrectly using fireworks.
Know the Risks
Although legal fireworks can be relatively safe with proper and careful usage, illegal fireworks present substantial risks that can result in deaths, blindness, amputations, and severe burns. Here are some facts:
- A 7 year old boy lost half of his left hand, including the fingers, when he ignited an M-80 he found hidden in a family bedroom. The M-80 exploded in the boy's hand.
- An 8 year old boy lost 3 fingers after igniting an M-80 on a kitchen stove. The victim was trying to exit his home when the device exploded in his hand.
- An 8 year old girl received second and third degree burns on her leg when a spark from a sparkler she was holding ignited her dress.
A Job for the Pros
Fireworks may seem like the latest in high-tech wizardry, but pyrotechnics, the science of fireworks, has been around for more than 1,000 years. Ancient Chinese chemists probably invented fireworks by chance. Today these dangerous but spectacular displays are only performed by professionals. In the past 10 years, 400 million hazardous fireworks have been seized or detained from entering our country.
- Fireworks, including sparklers, are not toys.
- Fireworks are dangerous explosives.
- Never pick up fireworks.
- Report any fireworks found to an adult right away.
- Never play with matches or lighters.
- Only use sparklers when an adult is in charge.