*this article originally appeared in blogs.lawyers.com/…/fireworks-safety-on-independence-day-48746
Fireworks cause 11,000 injuries each year. Unfortunately, more than half of those injuries occur on July 4. Fire officials urge residents to keep themselves and their families safe this summer by avoiding illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks are too powerful for residential use and often cause serious injuries, fatalities, and devastating home and yard fires. Those who purchase or use illegal fireworks face fines upwards of $10,000 or 18 months in jail. For those who want to celebrate with a bang, most cities and towns offer spectacular fireworks shows for free.
However, if you crave a little sparkle of your own this year, New Jersey recently joined the rest of the nation by lifting its ban on non-explosive, non-aerial fireworks sales and use. Although the sales are now limited to what may be safe fireworks, New Jersey and the rest of the nation must stay vigilant of the potential dangers less powerful fireworks have.
Dangers of Hand Held Sparkling Devices
Many of us grew up expecting to have a sparkler in our hand every Independence Day. As adults, most of us enjoy continuing this tradition with our own children. Yet, it is important to keep in mind that the sparklers that many of us consider harmless burn at temperatures of 1,000 degrees. Considering that this is hot enough to melt certain metals, it may not be surprising to learn that common sparkler injuries often include burns to the hands, eyes, face, and neck. Although sparklers can be substituted with pinwheels or bubble wands, sparkler lovers can keep their kids safe this summer by implementing a few backyard rules.
Sparklers are for outdoor use only and should always be lit by an adult. When doing so, hold the sparkler away from the face, and make sure the remaining pack of sparklers are not near the open flame. Once lit, sparklers can pop and sizzle, sending embers onto clothing and skin. To minimize the risk of burns, children should wear shoes and protective clothing before handling a sparkler.
Holding the Sparkler
The days of spinning, twirling, and sword fighting with sparklers are over. Kids holding lit sparklers should remain stationary to reduce the chance of falling. Additionally, standing instead of sitting and holding the sparkler in place will help to reduce the chances of burning someone nearby. Never pass or throw a lit sparkler to another person.
Once a sparkler has burned out, the stick remains extremely hot. Throwing a used sparkler in the garbage is a fire hazard. To properly dispose of sparklers, fill a bucket with water to use as the designated sparkler trash can. Our lawyers want to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday.