It’s hard to think of celebrating the Fourth of July without a fireworks display. Many people will safely enjoy fireworks by watching community-based professional fireworks displays but many others will enjoy them privately. Whether the display is public or private, it is extremely important to remember fireworks are not toys, they are explosives.
Keep fireworks safe, festive, and fascinating by keeping these fireworks statistics and safety tips in mind at all times.
- 230 people a day end up in US emergency rooms because of fireworks injuries during the 30-day period before July 4.
- That’s more than 10,000 fireworks-related emergency room visits in just one month each year.
- 8 people died from fireworks-related injuries in 2013.
- Children under age 4 are the most likely to be injured.
- Kids between 10 and 14 are the next most likely to be injured.
- 25% of all children injured by fireworks were spectators at private, backyard displays.
- 19% damage the eyes; many are blinded permanently.
- 19% injure the head, face, or ears.
- Deafness is often a result of being too near fireworks.
- 50% of all fireworks injuries are burns.
- Bottle rockets, firecrackers, and sparklers cause more injuries than other types of fireworks.
- Bottle rockets cause significantly more eye injuries than other fireworks.
- Sparklers are beautiful but not safe at all. They burn at roughly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit; that’s hot enough to melt metal.
- 17,000 fires are started each year by fireworks.
- Limit fireworks exposure to professional displays only.
- Make sure private fireworks are legal in your area.
- Never let children watch fireworks without constant adult supervision.
- Never let children handle fireworks.
- Don’t point lighted fireworks toward other people, pets, livestock, or other animals.
- Have a bucket of water or water hose at hand before the first fuse is lit.
- Never put fireworks in glass or metal containers.
- Know where all other people are before lighting a fuse.
- Use fireworks outside only.
- Duds are dangerous. Don’t try to relight them. Douse them with water and then put them in the trash.
- Don’t use fireworks near dried leaves, brush, or other flammable yard debris or chemicals.
- Pick up all spent fireworks pieces, douse them with water, and throw them in the garbage.
- Drench the entire area with water after your fireworks display is over.
- In a drought zone? Forget fireworks.
Fireworks and Pets
Fireworks don’t happen without explosions. These explosions are terrifying to many pet dogs and cats. Pets often get so frightened they run away and never return home. Fireworks are loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss in humans; pets experience all the senses much more vividly than we do.
Many animal shelters and rescue centers are busier on July 5 and the following days than all other days of the year, due to pets that fled fireworks and can’t find their way back home. They break through fences and gates, dig their way out of seemingly secure yards, leap over fences, jump through windows, tear through screens. They’ll do almost anything to escape the sensory assault of the fireworks.
In the days before and after July 4, please:
- Protect your pet from fireworks, even if they are banned in your area.
- Make sure all pets are collared with microchip tags clearly visible.
- Add your name and phone number to collar tags.
- Keep them inside with doors and windows closed and locked.
- Turn on soothing music to buffer the noise.
- If the pet is extremely agitated by the sound of fireworks, make it comfortable in an interior room with no windows until festivities die down.
Never take a dog to a professional fireworks display. Their fear, the crowd, traffic, and unfamiliar territory is a recipe for disaster.
- "Fireworks and Children Don't Mix." Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 30 June 2015. Web. 1 July 2015.
- "Fireworks Information Center." US Consumer Product Safety Commission. US Consumer Product Safety Commission, n.d. Web. 1 July 2015.
- "Keep Pets Safe/Secure This Fourth of July." Portland, Oregon. City of Portland, Oregon, n.d. Web. 1 July 2015.