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Safety & Prevention

4th of July Fireworks Safety: Tips for Families

On any other day of the year, would you hand your child matches or a flaming candle to play with? Probably, a hard no.

You work so hard all year long to keep your child safe.... Don't let the 4th of July mess with your common sense.

Lighting fireworks in the backyard or nearby field might seem like a festive way to entertain the kids. However, thousands of people, most of them children, teens and young adults, are injured each year while using fireworks. Most of these injuries happen in the month around the 4th of July. This year, help keep the holiday fun and safe by leaving any fireworks to trained professionals.

Common injuries from fireworks

About 11,500 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries in 2021, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and at least 9 of them died. Children under 15 years old accounted for 29% of these injuries. Among parts of the body most often burned or wounded were hands and fingers (31%), head, face, and ears (21%) and eyes (14%).

Safer ways to celebrate

View from a safe distance. Professional fireworks shows are going to be more spectacular, and safer, than backyard fireworks. Enjoy them at a safe distance, at least 500 feet away from the fireworks launch site. This will help protect your child's hearing. Fireworks and firecrackers can be as loud as 150 decibels—a lot louder than what's considered a safe listening level (75–80 decibels). At close distance, even one loud burst is enough to cause some permanent hearing damage.

Also keep in mind that if you find any unexploded or "dud" fireworks that fell to the ground, they may still go off. Keep your distance and call your local fire or police department right away.

If public fireworks displays are cancelled in your area because of dry conditions and the risk of wildfires, consider viewing a laser or drone light show that some communities offer instead.

Wave a flag (or glow stick) instead of a sparkler. Sparklers may seem relatively harmless, as fireworks go. But according to the CPSC, nearly half of fireworks injuries to children under age 5 are related to sparklers. Surprising? Consider this:

  • Sparklers burn at an extremely high heat: 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.

  • Sparks can ignite clothing on fire and cause eye injuries.

  • Touching a lit sparkler to skin can result in third degree burns.

There were about 900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers in 2020. Roughly 1,600 more injuries were related to firecrackers, 600 to Roman candles and 600 more to bottle rockets and other rockets.


Even if fireworks are legal to purchase and use in your community, they are not safe around children. Talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions about safely enjoying fireworks displays.

More Information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention (Copyright © 2021)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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