Isn't the Fourth of July great? In addition to being a celebration of America's independence as a nation, there's no school, lots of families have barbecues or cookouts, and you can go see a fireworks display at night.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a professional display. Some people light sparklers at home or even set off their own fireworks, but this is dangerous. Some of the people hurt each year aren't the ones setting off the fireworks, but people who are nearby

It's best to stay away from areas where nonprofessionals are setting off fireworks. Fireworks can cause serious eye injuries, including blindness, if the eye tissue gets damaged or torn. Other common injuries from fireworks include burns to the hands and face, which can leave scars. Someone could even lose one or more fingers if fireworks go off the wrong way. Fireworks can also start fires, which can hurt even more people.

If you know someone who plans to set off fireworks at home, here are some safety tips to share:

  • Only adults should light fireworks.
  • Never use fireworks indoors.
  • Be prepared to put out a fire by having a hose or water nearby.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • Stay away from a firework that has not gone off and never try to relight it.

Sparklers may seem less dangerous than fireworks, but they get extremely hot — as hot as 1,800º Fahrenheit (982º Celsius). Sparklers can light clothes on fire and can cause kids to get badly burned. That would take the fun out of a great holiday!

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2010

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