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Stay safe this 4th of July


Stay Safe this 4th of July


​​​​​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

Sales of consumer fireworks increased in 2020, when many community firework displays were cancelled because of COVID-19. Sadly, severe injuries and deaths from fireworks increased, too. About 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission​, and at least 18 people died.

Of those injured, roughly 1,100 were under age 5, another 1,400 were ages 5 to 14, and 1,300 were 15 to 19. Parts of the body most often burned or wounded were hands and fingers (30%), head, face, and ears (22%), eyes (15%), legs (13%), and arms (12%).

Safer ways to celebrate

View from a safe distance. While there may be fewer public firework displays this year, some communities are bringing them back with COVID-19 vaccines now available for ages 12 and up. If your children are too young to get the COVID-19 vaccine, be sure to stay a safe physical distance at public gatherings. Anyone over age 2 who is not vaccinated should wear a mask​ to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This is especially true with the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 circulating this summer.

Wave a flag instead of a sparkler. Sparklers may seem relatively harmless, as fireworks go. But 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.

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 loss, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Stay at least 500 feet away from the fireworks launch site.


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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