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Hope and Health

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Hope & Health
Articles and Updates from WVU Medicine Children's

07/3/2024 | Injury Prevention and Safety Program

Staying Safe While Celebrating: Essential Fireworks Safety Tips

Fireworks are a great way to celebrate and so much fun to watch!

With the 4th of July being the highlight of the summer for many, it is important to remember that fireworks can be very dangerous and should only be handled by trained professionals.

The WVU Medicine Children’s Injury Prevention and Safety Program wants to make sure your upcoming holidays are full of dazzling fun all while keeping your children safe.

In past years, the Child Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that more than 11,000 injuries happened from fireworks.

Children under 12 years of age are the most vulnerable.

According to the CPSC, teens ages 15-19 have the highest rate of emergency room visits related to firework accidents during this time of year.

In 2023, almost a quarter of fireworks sold in the U.S. contained illegal components that are unstable and unsafe, especially when used by someone who is untrained.

Follow these safe ways to celebrate on 4th of July:

View Fireworks from a Distance

Keeping a safe distance of at least 500 feet from the launch site can decrease hearing damage and the risk of burn injuries.

Consider bringing along hearing protection for the whole family. Some fireworks can be as loud as 150 decibels, which is much louder than the safe listening level of 75-80 decibels. Being too close to fireworks can cause lasting hearing damage.

Trade the Sparklers for Flags or Glow Sticks

For children under five, most fireworks injuries are from sparklers.

Risks for eye injuries and burns increase with the use of sparklers.

Consider using flags or glow sticks to include your little ones without putting them at risk. Never allow children to use any sort of sparklers or other fireworks without adult supervision.

Skip the Fireworks at Home

Instead of lighting fireworks at home, consider visiting a professional fireworks display.

You can prepare children ahead of time by telling them to expect loud noises (don’t forget ear protection!), lots of people, and bright lights.

Establish a plan of what to do if they feel frightened or get separated from family. Consider designating a meeting space if a group member gets separated from the others.

If You Choose to Light Fireworks

For those who do not have access to public firework displays or choose to celebrate at home, do not purchase professional fireworks, as they require special training.

Keep a fire extinguisher at the ready and spectators at a safe distance.

When the show is over, pour water over any remaining discharged or malfunctioned fireworks.

Make sure to read all instructions and avoid altering the fireworks from the manufacturer’s design.

For more information, please visit Safe Kids Worldwide or the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

About the Author

Each year, around one in four children sustain an unintentional injury that requires medical care. The WVU Medicine Children’s Injury Prevention and Safety Program provides childproofing education to prevent those injuries. The team consists of Coordinator Remington Rasel, Injury Prevention Specialist Kalie Perdue, and Injury Prevention Specialist Abby Rader.  This group also provides car seat safety education, including car seat inspections and installations. 

Learn more about the Injury Prevention and Safety Program and use their resources.

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