The 4th of July can be an exciting time; it’s an opportunity to hang out with family and friends while grilling barbecue and setting off festive fireworks. However, these fun fireworks come with many potential hazards, each of which should be addressed before putting on a home firework show.
- For starters, most municipalities don’t even allow home firework shows, so always be sure to call your local police department to ensure home fireworks are legal to purchase and use. Here in Texas, we have added precautions due to drought, and many counties are under a burn ban. Our friends at KXAN have provided a state map of local burn bans, updated weekly.
- Even if home fireworks are allowed, keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) association recommends that families with kids forgo home fireworks altogether for safety reasons, and instead go to a local firework show put on by the professionals. KXAN has provided a list of public firework shows in Austin and the surrounding areas, also updated weekly.
- The American Association of Pediatrics reports that 30% of the 5,200 firework injuries each year happen to children, and that 19% of these injuries are due to sparklers, which can burn at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The AAP suggests replacing sparklers with glow sticks or glow bracelets for a bright, fun alternative.
Should you decide to put on a home fireworks show, follow these tips from KidsHealth.org to ensure you and your family enjoy a safe show:
- Never let children help you light fireworks
- Establish a “safe zone” around the firework launch area
- Buy only legal fireworks (these will have the manufacturers name and directions on them)
- Never try to make your own fireworks
- Always have a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of accidents
- Never try to re-light a dud. Instead, immediately place it in a bucket of water
- Never hold or hover over fireworks while lighting them
- Wear protective eye gear while lighting fireworks
- Light one firework at a time
- Point fireworks away from your house/surrounding houses
- Soak all firework remnants in a bucket of water before throwing them away