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Are there safe fireworks?

By Michelle M. Guilbeau-Sheppard, Contributing writer
Published On: May 16 2011 02:25:22 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 02 2013 08:54:09 AM CDT
Fireworks, Kids, Sparklers

ŠiStockphoto.com/RBFried

Fireworks are big business throughout the year, but especially around Independence Day. Fireworks big and small can be viewed at parks, homes and virtually anywhere that people congregate.

Fireworks are undoubtedly beautiful, stunning, and bring excitement to an event. However, there is always the issue of safety for everyone involved, especially children.

Because fireworks involve high heat and explosives, there are no safe fireworks, and there is always the possibility that fireworks may cause injury or even death.

Fireworks Injury Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the body parts most often affected by fireworks are hands, eyes and head (including face and ears).

More than half of the injuries reported by the CDC were burns, mostly to every body part except the eyes and head areas, where contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye occurred more frequently.

Every year, nearly 4,000 children age 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries; children age 10-14 account for the majority of those incidents. Males, especially those 10-14, are at the highest risk of fireworks-related injuries, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign.

Some parents feel that fireworks, such as sparklers, are safe for children. However, caution should still be used when lighting them. Sparklers can reach temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees and can cause severe burns and ignite clothing, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign. Children age 4 and under are at the highest risk for sparkler-related injuries.

Safe Alternatives to Fireworks

There are safe alternatives to celebrate the Fourth of July and other festivities that traditionally offer fireworks. To add color to the festivities, guests can hang colorful streamers, paper, glitter and a multitude of other vibrant supplies that craft stores offer.

Instead of sparklers, glow sticks can be used, or kids can make Fourth of July crafts out of tinsel that resembles a sparkler.

If noise is a necessity to make the festivities complete, noisemakers such as balloons, paper lunch bags and pots and pans can all be provided.

Fireworks Safety Tips For Families

To ensure safe festivities for your family, follow the tips listed below: Fireworks should only be used outside
They should not be altered or combined
If fireworks are not legal in the area, they should not be used
There should be a designated shooter of the fireworks who is not drinking alcohol
Homemade fireworks should never be used