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Fireworks safety tips for Independence Day

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: July 2, 2021
fireworks display

Experts agree virtual shows are the safest option to protect from COVID-19 variants and fireworks-related injuries.

Barbecues, parades, and hot apple pie, these things all come to mind when you think of the 4th of July. What you may not consider is the number of individuals in the U.S. injured from fireworks. Consider these tips from a pediatric expert when it comes to your Independence Day celebration.

Virtual fireworks shows are the best option

One alternative to popping your own fireworks is to livestream a professional show. The official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to skip at-home fireworks for families with children. Enjoying a fireworks show conducted by professionals from the comfort of your home is a great way to celebrate.

Kenya Parks, M.D.
Kenya Parks, MD

Kenya M. Parks, MD, a pediatrician with UT Physicians, encourages families to be safe this year during the pandemic.

“As a pediatrician, I have witnessed devastating injuries resulting from fireworks. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic is still present and there are new variants in the midst. Additionally, we have not reached the 70% immunization rate for community immunity. Consider intimate gathering with immunized individuals as an option for celebrations,” said Parks, who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

Consumer fireworks are not legal in the City of Houston

The use of consumer fireworks are illegal in the City of Houston. Please check the law as it pertains to the surrounding areas.

Be aware of children and bystanders

Fireworks, even ones that seem harmless, are dangerous if not used properly. Bystanders and wandering children are vulnerable to burn injuries. Children can become easily distracted by the excitement of fireworks and get too close.

Sparklers are not “kid-friendly” fireworks

Sparklers, generally considered a safe firework, are a common cause of injuries. With temperatures upwards of 2,000 degrees, burns to the face and hands are frequent among children.

Have supplies ready in case of an emergency

Having an accessible water source (or a bucket of water) nearby can come in handy in case of a fire. All detonated fireworks should be doused in water before disposing of them. Keep a first-aid kit in the immediate area in the event of a minor injury. For serious injuries, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

Be aware of your surroundings

Be sure to check the label on your fireworks before detonation. The label can contain important information such as minimum safe distances for spectators and will indicate that it is a legal product. Most illegal fireworks products will not have a label or safety instructions. It is also important to ensure there are no combustible materials nearby, such as dried leaves, gas, or even other fireworks.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.