Fireworks are fun way to celebrate special occasions, but they are also extreamley dangerous and should be handled with caution. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2019. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36% of those injuries. Kids fireworks safety needs to be your priority when you are celebrating special occasions with flammable materials.

Kids Fireworks Safety

Why children should never play with fireworks

  1. Fireworks are literally explosive devices: Fireworks can cause serious injury if they are not handled properly. They can cause burns, eye injuries, and other types damage if they are not used in the correct manner.
  2. Children lack experience and judgment: Children may not understand the risks involved and oftentimes do not handle fireworks properly.
  3. Sparklers are not safe for children: Many people believe that sparklers are safe for children, but in fact, they can be just as dangerous as other fireworks. Sparklers burn at a very high temperature and can cause serious burns if they are not handled properly. Children may not be able to hold onto sparklers safely, and could accidentally touch someone else with them.
  4. Risk of fires: Fireworks can also cause fires if they are lit in high risk places. If a firework lands in a dry area or on a flammable object, it can start a fire that can quickly get out of control.
  5. Legal issues: In many areas, it is illegal for children to use fireworks. Parents may be held liable if their child causes damage or injury while using fireworks illegally.
A boy and a girl play with confetti. There are lots of great alternatives to celebrate without lighting fireworks.

Just because you don’t allow your child to play with small explosives doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! There are lots of ways to celebrate without using fireworks.

Alternatives to using fireworks for kids

  1. Glow sticks, necklaces, and other toys Glow toys are a fun and safe alternative to fireworks. They come in many different colors and can be worn as bracelets, necklaces, or even used to create fun shapes and designs in the dark.
  2. Streamers and confetti: Streamers and confetti can create a festive atmosphere without the risk of fire or injury. You can use them to decorate your home or to create a fun parade for children to enjoy.
  3. Bubbles: Children of all ages love bubbles. You can use bubble wands to create bubbles of different sizes and shapes, or you can use bubble machines for a more dramatic effect.
  4. Balloons: Balloons are a simple and inexpensive way to create a festive atmosphere. You can use them to decorate your home or to create fun games like balloon toss. Use LED balloon lights to brighten up the night.
  5. Food and drinks: Special foods and drinks can also make a celebration feel festive. You can create themed snacks or drinks that match the occasion.
  6. Confetti poppers: These are a fun craft that you can even make at home!
  7. Coke and Mentos gysers: This fun science experiment is always a crowd pleaser!
  8. Make elephant toothpaste: Another exciting science experiment that can be repurposed for entertainment.
  9. Crazy String: Does it create a huge mess? Yes, but it’s also guarnteed fun.
  10. Home laser show: With today’s technology you can have a laser show in your own backyard.
  11. Glow Paint: Have fun with glow paint and fill the night with color.
  12. Flashlights: Find some multicolor flashlights and create a light show.
  13. Pinatas– Everyone loves the excitement of playing with a pinatas. Fill it with activated glow sticks to add to the fun.

These ideas are all safe for children and allow them to have hands on fun with color, light, and other entertaining sensory experiences. Instead of handing your child a sparkler that could cause severe burns, give one of those activities a try.

Kids Fireworks Safety: What you need to know

For some people, a celebration is just not the same without fireworks. In this case, there are still things you can do to make the experience safer for you and those who are participating.

  1. Follow local laws and regulations: Before buying or using fireworks, make sure to check your local laws and regulations to ensure that you are using them legally and safely. Some areas may prohibit certain types of fireworks or restrict their use to certain times of day or days of the year.
  2. Use only legal and approved fireworks: Only use fireworks that are legal and approved by the CPSC. Illegal fireworks can be much more dangerous and unpredictable, increasing the risk of injury or fire.
  3. Keep fireworks away from children: Children should never handle or play with fireworks, even sparklers, which can burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Always keep fireworks out of reach of children and make sure that they are supervised by a responsible adult when in the vicinity of fireworks.
  4. Use fireworks in a safe location: Fireworks should always be used outdoors in a clear and open area, away from buildings, trees, and other flammable objects. Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass, as this can increase the risk of fire.
  5. Follow manufacturer instructions: Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using fireworks. Use a stable surface to set off the fireworks and never try to relight a “dud” firework.
  6. Have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby: It’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby when using fireworks. In case of a fire, make sure that you know how to use the extinguisher and that it is in good working condition.
  7. Dispose of fireworks properly: After the fireworks have been used, dispose of them properly by soaking them in water before throwing them in the trash. This will help prevent accidental fires from smoldering fireworks.
  8. Have a first aid kit near by: In case of accidents, always keep a first aid kit near by when lighting fireworks.

Sometimes, despite all precautions, injuries can occur with fireworks. Have a plan of what you will do if something goes wrong.

What to do when a child has a serious firework injury

  1. Call for emergency medical assistance: If someone is seriously injured, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Give clear and concise information about the location and nature of the injury.
  2. Stop the bleeding: If a child is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage. Do not remove the cloth or bandage if it becomes soaked with blood. Instead, add more layers on top of it and continue applying pressure until medical help arrives.
  3. Protect the injured area: If someone has burns or other injuries, protect the injured area from further damage by covering it with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply ice, ointments, or other products to the wound without the advice of a medical professional.
  4. Monitor the injured child: Stay with the injured child and monitor their condition until medical help arrives. Keep them calm and comfortable, and reassure them that help is on the way.
  5. Cooperate with medical personnel: When medical personnel arrive, provide them with all relevant information about the injury, such as how it occurred and any treatment that has been given. Follow their instructions and assist as needed.

The best option for watching for viewing live fireworks

If you simply must see fireworks, try an attend a firework show put on by professionals. These events are required to follow strict rules and regulations. They also often have emergency responders near by to address any issues that may arise.

Final Thoughts

Fireworks can be a lot of fun as long as they are handled responsibly. Children should never be allowed to play with fireworks. There are lots of alternative options for kids to participate in different ways. Keep friends and family safe by following local laws when lighting fireworks and have a safety plan for what to do when things don’t go as planned.

For more information on how to keep your kids safe, check out my article on hot cars and kids.

Fireworks Safety – National Safety Council. (n.d.). Www.nsc.org. https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/seasonal-safety/summer-safety/fireworks

Fireworks. (2018, July 2). CPSC.gov. https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks

NFPA – Fireworks. (n.d.). Www.nfpa.org. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Fireworks

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