Firework Safety for Teens

Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day is a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends, but it also poses some risks. Thousands of people are taken to hospital emergency rooms in the United States every year because of injuries from fireworks — including bottle rockets, sparklers, and firecrackers. The most common fireworks injuries involve the hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face. Some of these injuries are severe, resulting in permanent health problems such as missing fingers or vision loss. Youth are especially vulnerable to these types of injuries, because they don’t know of the risks or how to handle fireworks safely. Take a moment today and give your teen this important information:

Firework Safety Tips

If you live in a state that allows fireworks and you’re planning a do-it-yourself celebration, follow these safety tips to protect yourself and the people watching:

  • Buy ready-made fireworks rather than making your own, even from a kit.
  • Buy only legal fireworks that have a label with instructions for proper use. If your fireworks don’t have an instruction label, they’re probably illegal to use.
  • Choose fireworks that are appropriate for the area you’ll be using them in. For example, avoid using rockets or other aerial fireworks in the backyard or a busy street. Choose fountain-type fireworks instead.
  • Follow all the directions on the label closely.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person. Point fireworks away from people, whether they are lit or not.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Never light them indoors.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container or try to shoot them off from a pan.
  • Always use fireworks outside with a bucket of water or hose nearby. Keep fireworks away from dry leaves and other materials that can easily catch on fire.
  • If a firework doesn’t seem to work, don’t go over to it or attempt to relight it. Stand back for a while. If you can reach it with a hose or bucket without getting too close, douse it with water.
  • Light one firework at a time. Keep the firework you’re lighting well away from unlit fireworks.
  • If you’re lighting a firework, wear eye protection and don’t lean over the firework.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket (the friction can set them off).
  • If someone gets an eye injury from fireworks, don’t rub the eye or attempt to wash it out. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. It could make the difference between saving a person’s sight and permanent blindness.

Alternative Activities

Sometimes the best idea to keep teens safe is to simply not have them set off fireworks! They can always attend a professional fireworks display. Or if they really want to hang out with their friends without crowds, encourage other safe activities. Offer a cookout for great food. Have the teens tie dye red, white and blue t-shirts for bandannas to show their patriotism. The youth could make a patriotic dessert. They could enjoy games in the dark, such as having a ring toss game with glow necklaces or playing flashlight tag.

Final thoughts…

Remind your teen that every person who has been injured by a firework probably thought that it would never happen to them. Talk to them about what makes fireworks dangerous and what can happen when things don’t go as planned.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Fourth of July!

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