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Fireworks Safety


Fireworks Safety:

What you need to Know
to Protect you and your children!


SPARKLERS: The Biggest Danger to Your Children!

Sparkler Safety Tips

How do fireworks injuries Occur?

Guidelines for a safe home fireworks display

General Fireworks Safety Tips

US Consumer Product Safety Commission Recommendations and Report

Sparkler Bombs - YOU CAN LOSE YOUR HAND!

Click here for a copy of our Safety Handout

Thanks to Phantom Fireworks for their commitment to consumer safety


 Dr. Grabow's interview with Channel 3

Fireworks Safety Videos

Fireworks Injury Slide Show - *WARNING GRAPHIC MATERIAL*


Sparklers: The Biggest Danger at July 4th.

Phantom Handout - draft copy




Fireworks are a tradition for many families around the July 4th holiday. Unfortunately every year thousands of children and adults are injured needlessly due to failure to adhere to basic fireworks safety tips.

While some groups advocate a ban on all consumer or home use fireworks, others feel they can be used safely by viewing them with the proper respect they deserve as a potential cause of serious injury.

The group most frequently injured by fireworks are children under the age of 15.  While most parents assume that firecrackers and various types of rockets are the biggest risk to their children, sparklers actually cause the biggest threat.  Approximately 16% of all fireworks related injuries are caused by sparklers.  However, when considering children alone sparklers cause 1/3rd of all fireworks injuries to children and over half the injuries to children under 5!

The key to protecting children from sparkler injuries is adhering to some very simple yet effective safety tips.




  • Sparklers should only be used under direct adult supervision

  • Never hold a child in your arms if you or the child are using sparklers

  • Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time

  • Never hand a lighted sparkler to someone. Give them an unlit sparkler then light it.

  • Teach children to hold sparklers away from their body with one hand at full arm’s length

  • Always stand at least 6 feet away from anyone when using sparklers.

  • Never throw, twirl, or wave sparklers.  Especially ones with wooden sticks that can easily break and go into someone's eye.

  • Always wear closed-toe-shoes when using sparklers. Burns to feet are common when burnt sparklers are left on the ground for others to step on.

  • Sparklers should be dropped directly in a bucket of water after the flame goes out. The wire and stick remain hot long after it stops burning.



The biggest question most people ask is how do kids get injured by fireworks.  Most assume it is children who sneak off with some firecrackers or rockets and are playing without adult supervision.  For most firecracker and rocket injuries this does appear to be the most common scenario. However, careless preparation of home fireworks displays or a lack of proper safety preparations also leads to a significant number of injuries. Additionally, as we already discussed young children are also allowed to play with sparklers and other spark showering "safe" fireworks like snakes and fountains and burn themselves in plain sight and supervision of their parents.

So how do you prevent your children from playing with fireworks unsupervised?

The answer is simple - take a team approach.  Since kids rarely blow off fireworks by themselves you not only need to watch your own child but also your child's friends as well. (70% of fireworks injuries are to males, since they are more likely to "play" with them.) If you buy fireworks for use at home - LOCK THEM UP!  You wouldn't leave a loaded gun unlocked at home, why would you leave explosives unattended! They should be in a cool place with no surrounding flammable agents. An ideal storage unit is an empty metal tool box with locking clasp.  Teens are fairly resourceful and can guess combinations very well so use a key lock.  Talk to the parents of your child's friends and make sure they have the same game plan. Finally, sit down with your children and watch the slide show of fireworks injuries I have compiled. IT IS VERY GRAPHIC! But drives home the point well.  Additionally, have them read about this unfortunate teen in Cleveland who lost his hand due to a fireworks injury

So how do you put on a fireworks display at home, but keep the risk of injury low? 

Again the answer is education and safety prevention. Many groups have dedicated countless hours of time and money to help educate the public on the safe use of fireworks.  We have compiled several resources below to help educate yourself on the safe and responsible use of fireworks. However, as you would assume the only truly SAFE way to enjoy fireworks is to leave it to the professionals and watch your local city display.






Please understand that most health and consumer protection agencies recommend against home fireworks use not only due to the inherent risks to all those in attendance but also to the surrounding homes and neighbors.  If you are planning on having any type of fireworks display at your home, please review these helpful safety tips.

Safety Recommendations for Home Fireworks Use

  1. Line up the home fireworks display with a viewing area on one side only. Don't watch from all sides; it's too hard to keep an eye on all participants if the display is surrounded.
  2. Keep the fireworks sitting on a hard flat surface with nothing flammable around. Dry leaves and foliage are especially dangerous. Look at the plants and grass - if it's yellow and dead, that is not a good place to be setting off fireworks. Concrete or a well-watered, green lawn is the best. Using lawn will keep burn marks off the concrete.
  3. Keep a bucket handy. Fill it about 2/3 full with water and use to soak used fireworks and duds.
  4. Keep a hose with a shut-off nozzle nearby. The water should be on and the hose should be ready to instantly douse any wayward fires.
  5. To make a flat surface on lawn, place a wide piece of lumber across the grass. Soak the lumber with water before placing the fireworks.
  6. Place the fireworks about 6 inches apart along the board in the order they will be lit.
  7. Only one person should light the display. That person should not be drinking alcohol before or during the show and should be at least 14 years old.
  8. Only light one firework at a time.
  9. If a firework doesn't light, or doesn't work after the fuse burns all the way down, it's called a dud. Wait at least 20 minutes after lighting the fuse and then place the dud into the bucket of water.
  10. Wait until each firework is finished before lighting the next.
  11. Sparklers should only be handled by kids older than 12
  12. Make sure that people with lit sparklers stay at least 10 feet apart.
  13. Put all used sparklers in the water bucket.
  14. After all the fireworks have been lit and all used fireworks and duds have soaked for at least 10 minutes, discard the fireworks in an outside trashcan.

  1. Never smoke around fireworks!
  2. Do not light fireworks on windy days.
  3. Wear cotton clothing to light fireworks. Synthetic fibers tend to melt onto skin, while cotton does not burn easily.
  4. Use a long-tipped lighter for lighting fireworks to keep hands and faces away from fuses.
  5. Make sure all safety supplies are on hand before lighting anything:
  • Five gallon bucket filled 2/3 full with water
  • Concrete or well-watered lawn at least 15 feet by 10 feet
  • Five feet or longer piece of lumber at least six inches wide
  • Viewing area at least 15 feet from the display
  • Garden hose with shut-off nozzle
  • Use only legal fireworks



    The US Consumer Product Safety Commission works to protect you. They have compiled data on fireworks injuries for the past 15 years in an effort to identify the cause of these injuries in order to educate the public in ways to help reduce their occurrence.  If you are interested in reviewing all the current data on fireworks injury statistics in the US please use the link below to the section on their website addressing this topic. You can download their reports in PDF format.

    Fireworks Annual Report - 2008

    Fireworks Annual Report - 2007

    Fireworks Annul Reports - 2006 - 1997

    Recommendations for the Safe Use of Fireworks:

    1. Young children should not be allowed to play with fireworks under any circumstances.

    2. Older children should only be permitted to handle fireworks under close adult supervision.
      Do not allow any running or horseplay, and parents should review safety procedures before allowing an older child near any fireworks.

    3. Observe local laws concerning use of fireworks.

    4. Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass, and flammable materials.

    5. Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and to douse fireworks that do not properly ignite.

    6. Do not attempt to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.

    7. Be sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

    8. Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.

    9. Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting. Be sure to wear protective eyewear. An errant ember could cause permanent eye damage or, in extreme cases, blindness.

    10. Don't experiment with homemade fireworks.


    - BACK TO TOP -

     SPARKLER BOMBS! You can lose your hand

     Most people celebrate the holiday with traditional fireworks purchased from a reputable dealer. These fireworks and novelties are chosen by vendors for their safety profile and reliability. Unfortunately, some creative individuals look for ways to "boost" the excitement of any firework. Here in Las Vegas our "Safe and Sane" fireworks restriction does not limit the risk of creating DANGEROUS "homemade" fireworks from supposedly "safe and sane" options. 

    The most popular of these homemade fireworks is the SPARKLER BOMB.  Simply put, your wrap a bunch together and light them all at once.  Sure it give a big flame which is entertaining and fun, BUT people have LOST THEIR EYESIGHT, FINGERS, AND HANDS due to these homemade devices. 

    If you are a parent of a teenage male - KEEP AN EYE ON THEM!  The most likely group to make these are teen males. Please have them visit this site and the links below to see the danger.  They need to know that making these sparkler bombs is ILLEGAL and dangerous and potentially deadly!

    Boy loses hand from sparkler bomb

    Shrapnel sends a 7 year old to the hospital from a sparkler bomb

    21 year old loses his hand and eye building a sparkler bomb



    Various agencies around the country have created safety videos regarding the safe use of fireworks. We urge anyone planning on using fireworks at their home to review these videos so that you may be fully prepared for a safe holiday celebration. None of us want the memorable part of a holiday to be the trip to the Emergency Room.

     The National Council on Fireworks Safety Video

     Go to video
      Child Dies at Home Fireworks Display - A tragic story

     Go to video
      American Pyrotechnics Institute How-to do a safe home fireworks display

     Go to video
     Teenager burned and scarred by fireworks - Hear her story

     Go to video
     How to avoid common fireworks injuries
     Go to video



    National Council on Fireworks Safety
    Educating the public on the Safe and Responsible Use of Consumer Fireworks

     U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission




    To give your children, spouse, or loved one a true understanding of the destructive power of fireworks please view the slide show provided.  WARNING - these pictures ave very graphic. 

    *WARNING* Graphic pictures to show the true danger of "playing with fireworks". It may not happen to you, BUT THAT IS WHAT ALL THESE PEOPLE THOUGHT!

    View This Gallery
    © Grabow Hand to Shoulder Center.