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Fireworks display on the beach.

Firework Safety Tips for Families

By Dr. Kathleen Swayne, Pediatric Associates of Williamsburg

The Fourth of July is quickly approaching, and many families are busily preparing for the festivities; however, keep in mind that children and fireworks can be a dangerous combination.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that firework-related injuries and deaths drastically increased in 2020, with roughly 3,800 children under age 19 requiring treatment.

Injuries from fireworks can cause severe burns, scars, and lifelong disfigurement. Bottle rockets, firecrackers, and sparklers are mostly to blame.

Ensure your holiday is injury-free with these tips:

  • Attend public displays of fireworks in lieu of hosting your own.
  • Never allow a child to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Closely supervise children around fireworks at all times.
  • Observe fireworks from a distance and never stand close to where they’re being lit.
  • Never allow your child to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode or cause burns.

Many parents believe that sparklers are safe, but they cause about 10 percent of all fireworks-related injuries. Sparklers can burn hot enough to melt some metals and should never be handled by children. Consider using glow sticks or flags as a safe, child-friendly alternative.

Don’t forget to protect your child’s hearing as well. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, children should stay at least 500 feet away from any fireworks launch site, as one loud burst can cause permanent hearing loss.

If your child is injured by fireworks, seek immediate medical attention. If an eye injury occurs, do not allow your child to touch or rub the eye as this may cause further damage.

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About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.