Fireworks safety

Americans celebrate the 4th of July with picnics, parades and fireworks displays.  However, for thousands of Americans each year, July 4th includes a visit to the emergency rooms because of avoidable fireworks injuries.

Important 4th of July facts:

  • Approximately 12,000 Americans are treated each year for fireworks injuries and 2,000 of those injuries involve the eye.  Half of those with eye injuries are bystanders.
  • You should never use fireworks at home.  Attend only professional fireworks displays from a distance of 500 feet (1/4 mile).
  • Firecrackers, bottle rockets, sparklers and Roman candles account for the majority of fireworks injuries.
  • Don’t allow children to play with fireworks of any kind. Forty percent of those injured by fireworks are under the age of 14.
  • Ten percent of children that are injured by fireworks suffer permanent damage, such as the loss of an eye, finger or hand.
  • Sparklers burn as hot as 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt gold.  For children under five, sparklers account for three-fourths of all fireworks injuries.
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks.  Contact your local fire or police department immediately.
  • Legal fireworks have the name of the manufacturer, the words “Class C Common Fireworks” and a warning label.  If this information is missing, you should consider the fireworks illegal and unsafe.


A few minutes of fun are not worth a lifetime of permanent vision impairment or other physical disabilities.  The best advice we can give is to leave fireworks to pyrotechnics professionals.  If you do suffer a fireworks-related eye injury, do not touch the injured eye and seek emergency medical treatment immediately.