June 29, 2023

Supervision key to safe Fourth of July celebration for families

Exploding fireworks in the sky

MADISON, Wis. – In advance of July 4, UW Health Kids is encouraging families to take proper precautions to ensure a safe holiday weekend.

More than 3,000 children younger than the age of 15 are sent to the emergency room each year in the United States because of fireworks-related injuries, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a pediatric safety advocacy organization.

Sparklers are especially dangerous for young kids as they can heat up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and account for one-third of the injuries to children younger than five, according to Rishelle Eithun, pediatric injury prevention program manager, UW Health Kids.

“It is that time of year where everyone looks forward to spectacular fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, but they can lead to burns and serious injuries, especially in kids,” she said.

Every July the pediatric emergency department at American Family Children’s Hospital sees firework-related injuries such as burns, loss of fingers, loss of limbs and other serious traumas that can have long-lasting consequences, Eithun said.

“We want everyone to have safe and happy Fourth of July celebrations, but the bottom line is fireworks are not safe for children,” Eithun said. “Children should be supervised around fireworks by a responsible adult, and children should not handle fireworks even after they go out.”

Safe Kids Worldwide offers the following tips to stay safe this season:

  • Leave fireworks to the professionals and attend public fireworks displays instead of lighting them at home

  • Give children glowsticks instead of sparklers because sparklers can become dangerously hot

  • Make sure a responsible adult is designated to supervise children and assure they are a safe distance away from a lit firework

  • Provide earplugs to protect a child’s hearing during fireworks shows

  • Never allow children to pick up used fireworks, as they could still be hot or active