June 29, 2022

UW Health Kids offers safety reminders for families this Fourth of July

Colorful fireworks of various colors over night sky

Madison, Wis. – Fireworks can make July 4 celebrations spectacular, but they can also lead to burns and serious injuries, especially in children.

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, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a pediatric safety advocacy organization.

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, according to Dr. Nicholas Kuehnel, pediatric emergency medicine physician, UW Health Kids.

“We want everyone to have safe and happy Fourth of July celebrations, but the bottom line is fireworks are not safe for children,” said Kuehnel. “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 glow sticks instead of sparklers, because sparklers can heat up to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than a blow torch.

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

  • Provide ear plugs 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.