• Health & Wellness

    Celebrate safely: Use caution when using fireworks and sparklers

a young person lighting a fireworks sparkler in their hands

Americans everywhere will be celebrating Independence Day on July 4, and that often means fireworks and sparklers are involved. While exciting, fireworks also can be dangerous if not handled properly. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), eight people died and nearly 10,000 people were treated at emergency departments in 2023 due to fireworks injuries.

Dr. Jesse Bracamonte, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, urges families to practice caution when using fireworks for personal use.

"Fourth of July firework injuries can be relatively common, particularly getting chemical burns from the firework itself. People must understand a firework is an explosive. Common injuries include hand injuries, eye injuries and sometimes skin surface burns," says Dr. Bracamonte.

Watch: Dr. Jesse Bracamonte urges caution when using fireworks and sparklers

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Bracamonte are available in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Name super/CG: Jesse Bracamonte, D.O./Family Medicine/Mayo Clinic.

Of the burns and injuries reported in 2023, teenagers made up the highest rate of emergency department visits due to fireworks, followed by children ages 5 to 9, according to the CPSC. All fireworks, including sparklers, are potentially dangerous. 

"If families are going to partake in firework activities, they must exercise extreme caution. These are highly explosive and can cause burns. If they are going to do that, make sure it's in a safe place, that it's an adult handling the fireworks and have experience with the proper tools," says Dr. Bracamonte. "I would highly advise that everyone use extreme caution and that no children be allowed to play with fireworks due to the explosive nature and the risk for injury." 

What to do in case of fireworks injury

If you or a family member do experience a burn or have an accident, take action to ensure prompt treatment if necessary.

"It's important to make sure that that person is safe and that the areas are cleansed with water immediately. And that, if necessary, you seek emergency evaluation. Fireworks are not just generally fire, it's also a chemical and an explosive. Therefore, the injury can be double-fold with a fire injury and a chemical burn," he adds.

Tips to avoid injuries from fireworks

Talk with your kids about using fireworks and sparklers, and follow these safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Always have adult supervision.
  • Wear protective eyewear.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Don't point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • Watch them from a safe distance.

"Fireworks are explosive. They contain chemicals and heat, a deadly combination that can cause serious injury. It's important to have a conversation with children, knowing that when children are out, different activities may ensue. It's important that they are appropriately educated about the risks of playing with fireworks," says Dr. Bracamonte.