Fireworks are everywhere around the Fourth of July and while they make for a festive celebration, there are some things to keep in mind where kids are concerned. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 11,500 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries in 2021, and almost 30% of them were kids under age 15.
While there’s always some risk with being around fireworks, some situations are safer than others, according to pediatrician Dr. Danelle Fisher. Here’s what doctors say is okay and what isn’t when it comes to kids and fireworks and sparklers.
- Fireworks displays - Experts say taking kids to a public display to watch fireworks is the safest option, as long as you stay in the designated areas and keep your kids supervised. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that fireworks can get as loud as 150 decibels, which is much louder than the 75 to 85 decibels that’s considered a safe listening level. So Fisher says headphones and ear plugs are always a good safety option to protect little ones from the loud noise.
- At-home fireworks - Dr. Sage Myers, with the emergency department at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says home fireworks are the highest risk for kids. Pediatrician Dr. Antonio Caceres recommends “leaving any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks,” while Fisher advises keeping kids at least 500 feet from where the fireworks are being set off. And of course, kids should never handle fireworks.
- Sparklers - They’re often given to children, but they can be pretty dangerous. Fisher urges caution, asking, “Would you give your child anything with fire on it to play with normally?” Sparklers can spit out little sparks and kids can easily burn themselves, so some experts suggest swapping sparklers for glow sticks, which are much safer.