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Fireworks have long been a popular part of the Fourth of July. But while fireworks are bright and festive, they can also be dangerous—for children, teens and even adults.
According to SafeKids Worldwide, more than 3,000 children under the age of 15 are sent to emergency departments each year in the U.S. because of fireworks. Fireworks can cause serious burns, eye injuries, lost fingers, fractures, other traumatic injuries and even death.
So how can you stay safe—and still have fun? Here’s what parents need to know.
The best way to keep your family safe is to watch a public fireworks display. By leaving the lighting to the pros, all you have to do is enjoy the show.
Many cities outlaw any and all home fireworks. For example, consumer fireworks are illegal in the city of Los Angeles and in all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
Check with your city or local fire department to learn the laws in your area.
If you choose to use legal fireworks, be sure to handle them with extreme care and caution—before, during and after lighting them. Even fireworks labeled as “safe and sane” can cause severe injury.
Follow these tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Sparklers can cause serious burn injuries. They can reach nearly 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
Immediately take any injured child to a doctor or the emergency department.
Do not apply ointments, butter or other remedies on the burn. Seek emergency medical care if the burned area is large, looks infected (swelling, warmth, increased redness, increased pain or pus) or involves the face, hands, neck, feet, joints or genitals.
Remember, it’s best not to use home fireworks at all, even if they’re legal. Watch a public fireworks show instead, and keep your family safe while enjoying the fun.
The Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a nationally recognized program that provides education and community resources to help keep kids safe. To learn more, visit CHLA.org/InjuryPrevention.