July 1, 2021

UW Health offers safety reminders for July 4 fireworks

Exploding fireworks in the sky

Madison, Wis. — Fireworks are often part Independence Day celebrations, but setting off fireworks can come with the potential for traumatic injuries.

In fact, in 2019, an estimated 10,000 people in the United States sought medical attention for firework-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At UW Health, about 15 people were treated for fireworks-related trauma or burns in 2020.

Today, UW Health is offering safety reminders so the community can have a safe and happy July 4 holiday with family and friends. Some simple advice includes attending public firework displays. To protect young children’s ears, the Safety Center at American Family Children’s Hospital sells ear protection. Instead of sparklers, give children glowsticks; sparklers can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. And always, keep fireworks away from children.

No one should do the following with fireworks:

  • Experiment or make your own fireworks

  • Light more than one firework at a time

  • Re-light a “dud” firework

  • Point or throw fireworks at people

  • Carry fireworks in your pocket

  • Allow children to pick up used fireworks; some may still be active

  • Hold a lit firework in your hand

  • Consume alcohol or drugs when lighting fireworks

Safety tips for handling fireworks:

  • Hold a sparkler out in front of you with your arm completely extended

  • Stand at least three feet away from someone holding a sparkler

  • Observe your local and state laws

  • Have a designated sober adult light all legal fireworks

  • Light one firework at a time and move away quickly

  • Keep children and other observers at a safe distance and behind a protective barrier

  • Store firework out of the reach of children

  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose close for disposal of fireworks

If a burn injury does occur

  • Stop, drop and roll if your clothing catches fire, and then immediately douse in cool water

  • Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process

  • Remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area

  • Cover the area with a dry clean sheet or loose bandages

  • Seek medical attention