When you think of summer, you usually think of barbeque, parades, and fireworks.  Of course, it is safest to watch fireworks at a public display conducted by professionals, but many times we choose to take the risk of injury and set off fireworks at home.  They may be legal but they are not always safe.

Each year thousands of people are severely injured requiring medical treatment due to firework related accidents and foregoing firework safety protocols. At our Fort Bend office, many of these firework burn injuries occur with children and young adults.  Most of these accidents are due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives.  Less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers can also cause significant, senseless injuries that could injure innocent bystanders as well.

  Sparklers can be so fun but are a lot more dangerous than most people think.  Sparklers burn at over 1,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals, and can quickly ignite clothing.  Children have been reported by local Fort Bend firework safety experts as receiving severe burns and wounds from dropping sparklers on their legs and feet.   According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for firework related injuries.  For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.  Please consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, silly string, or colored streamers in place of sparklers.

Firework safety tips

If consumer fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow the following safety tips:

  • Always read and follow label instructions.
  • Always purchase high quality fireworks from a reliable and legitimate source.
  • Alcohol and drugs do not mix with fireworks.  Have a “designated shooter.”
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.  50% of fireworks injuries occur with those under the age of 20 years.
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Never ignite fireworks inside.  
  • Make sure your outdoor area is safe for firework use.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at a person or animals, building, or any flammable material.
  • Have a source of water handy, in case of fire or to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Light only one firework at a time, retreat quickly, and then maintain a safe distance preferably behind a protective barrier after lighting.
  • Never attempt to alter, modify, or re-light malfunctioning fireworks.
  • When lighting fireworks, never position any part of your body over them.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Store fireworks in a cool and dry place.
  • Soak both used and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
  • Never experiment with homemade fireworks.  They are dangerous and illegal.
  • Bottle rockets and other skyrockets that are mounted on a stick or wire are illegal.
  • It is illegal to shoot fireworks on or under a vehicle, on any public roadway, within 50 feet of a firework stand or where fireworks are stored, and gas stations or any place liquid gas – including propane – is stored.
  • Don’t forget you can be held legally and financially liable for injuries caused by using fireworks.
  • And don’t forget about your pets!  Fireworks can be extremely stressful to them.  Please keep them inside and close the shades or curtains.  Turn on the TV/stereo for some distraction and make sure they have their favorite toys to keep their minds busy and distracted to reduce fear and anxiety.


If a firework injury occurs at your Fort Bend area celebration, cool the burn with cool water, remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area, and cover with loose bandages or clean dry sheets.  Seek medical attention quickly to treat the injury.

If you or a loved one is injured during your July 4th celebrations, be sure to visit your nearest No Wait OakBend ER.   For more information about firework safety in Fort Bend, treatments for burns at our wound care department, our hand therapy department, or our No Wait ER’s, please visit our website or call 281-341-3000 to schedule an appointment.

Content for this wound care blog was provided by Kristi Chapman, Occupational Therapist/Certified Hand Therapist, OPT at OakBend Medical Center. 

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