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Fireworks safety Children's Wisconsin

Fireworks and kids: How to stay safe this summer

Watching fireworks is one of the joys of summer holidays, but home fireworks are dangerous. In fact, more than 3,000 children under age 15 go to emergency rooms every year as a result of firework injuries.

The best and safest thing to do is enjoy fireworks at a community display and leave lighting fireworks to the professionals. For kids under age 5, it’s a good idea to use safety earmuffs to protect their hearing. 

Fireworks at home present a real danger. And relaxed laws in the United States have made it easier for kids and teens to buy fireworks and other pyrotechnics at a younger age. And hospitals all over the country saw a corresponding increase in firework-related injuries. The statistics from the Consumer Protection Safety Commission are alarming:

  • In 2023, 8 people died from fireworks related injuries.

  • In 2023, 9,700 people were treated in hospital emergency departments with firework injuries. 700 of those injuries were caused by sparklers. 

  • About 42 percent of injuries treated in emergency departments were burns. Injuries to the hands and fingers made up about 35 percent while the head, face and ears were 22 percent.

  • Kids between 15 and 19 years old had the highest rate of emergency department-treated injuries. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 had the second highest rate.

Sparkler safety

Sparklers may be Instagram-worthy when they light up the night, but while many parents think sparklers are harmless, they are the leading cause of firework injuries, making up a third of injuries in kids under 5.

Sparklers burn at more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt glass — making it easy for them to cause severe burns. They can ignite clothing, and the sparkler wire stays hot long after the flame is out. 

Glow sticks are a fun and safe alternative to sparklers, especially for young children. Buy a bunch and see how many kids can hold and twirl at once.

Bottle rockets

Bottle rockets account for half of all firework-related eye injuries, and are also the biggest cause of firework injuries that result in permanent blindness. Bottle rockets are out of control from the moment they are lit, making unpredictable paths. There is simply no safe way to use them.

Firework knowledge

If you do choose to have fireworks at home, use extreme caution and never let kids light or approach fireworks. 

Also, be aware of local ordinances as many communities prohibit fireworks. Wear proper eye protection and ignite fireworks outdoors and away from buildings, cars, dry leaves and grass. Have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby. Never experiment with homemade fireworks.

Keep your celebrations safe and enjoyable this summer by leaving fireworks to the pros.