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Isn't the Fourth of July great? It's a celebration of America's independence as a nation, and there's no school, lots of families have barbecues or cookouts, and you can go see a fireworks display at night.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a professional display. Some people light sparklers at home or even set off their own fireworks, but this is dangerous. Some of the people hurt each year aren't the ones setting off the fireworks, but people who are nearby.

It's best to stay away from areas where nonprofessionals are setting off fireworks. Fireworks can cause serious eye injuries, including blindness, if the eye tissue gets damaged or torn. Other common injuries from fireworks include burns to the hands and face, which can leave scars. Someone could even lose one or more fingers if fireworks go off the wrong way. Fireworks are so loud that they can cause hearing damage if they go off too close to where people are standing. Fireworks can also start fires, which can hurt even more people, pets, or homes.

Don’t pick up pieces of fireworks that have landed on the ground without exploding. They can still explode a little later. Stay away from them and ask an adult to call the police or the fire station.

Sparklers may seem less dangerous than fireworks, but they get extremely hot — as hot as 2000°F (1093°C). Sparklers can light clothes on fire and can cause kids to get badly burned. That would take the fun out of a great holiday. Use glow sticks instead!

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2024