The Fourth of July brings to mind picnics, swimming, family, friends and, of course, fireworks. Yet, it also brings to mind danger: fireworks, when not handled properly, can cause serious injury. On average, 250 people arrive to the emergency room daily due to fireworks-related injuries around the Fourth of July holiday.

So, all the more important to teach and promote safe use of fireworks by being an excellent example to family and friends in their proper use.

Closely supervise teens. Do not allow children to use fireworks. Did you know that sparklers could heat up to 2,000 degrees? That is hot enough to melt some metals. Provide glow sticks for children, which are an entertaining, but safe alternative.

7 Tips to Make Your Fourth of July Enjoyable and Safe

  1. Do not mix alcohol and fireworks.
  2. Have a designated operator for the fireworks who has read the directions and caution labels prior to use. Make sure the operator wears eye protection.
  3. Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  4. Only use fireworks outdoors. Always have water ready in order to extinguish upon emergency. Do not shoot fireworks off from a metal or glass container.
  5. Never attempt to relight a ‘dud’ firework. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes, then place in a bucket of water.
  6. Used fireworks should be soaked in a bucket of water and stored outdoors safely away from the home, garage, porch or flammable structure. They should then be disposed of in a metal trash container.
  7. Always obey local laws. Only use legal, consumer-grade fireworks. If they are illegal in your area – do not use them!

Keep in mind it is safest to not use fireworks at home and instead attend a professional display in the community. Leave the lighting to the professionals and enjoy one of the favorite summer holidays!

If a burn does occur, cool it with cool water for 3-5 minutes right away. Do not put ice, butter or lotion on the burn. Contact your doctor or call 911 if the burn looks bad.

The University of Vermont Medical Center Trauma and Burn Center can be reached at 802-847-3790. We offer excellence in trauma surgery, burn-related surgery and surgical critical care. As Vermont’s only Level I Trauma Center-and the first in the U.S. to be verified for both children and adults-you can be assured that you and your family have access to the most advanced trauma surgery and surgical critical care available in the event of a serious injury or accident.


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