Help Keep Your Kids Safe Around Fireworks


By Kara Carter, M.D., Pediatrician, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Katy 

Independence Day is just around the corner, and celebrating with fireworks is a much-anticipated tradition. The sparkle in the night sky coupled with the music that accompanies most displays is a delight for the eyes and heart of any patriotic American.  

While it may be easy for individuals to purchase fireworks in the weeks before Independence Day, I recommend that families and individuals leave these displays to the experts. Fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers, causing thousands of injuries every year.i 

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s 2020 Fireworks Annual Report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 15,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2020, of which 10,300 occurred between June 21 and July 21ii. More than one-third of the victims of fireworks-related injuries were under the age of 15iii 

Burns accounted for 44% of the fireworks injuries seen in the month around July 4, with injuries to the leg (24%), hand or finger (28%), and eye (19%) being the most common.  


Consider one, or some, of these alternatives to celebrate your patriotism on July 4:  

  • Use glow sticks in place of sparklers to light the night up. 
  • Colorful — red, white, and blue — silly string makes for a fun and active way to celebrate the July 4th holiday. 
  • Decorate a holiday tree in patriotic colors, and create ornaments to dangle from the branches.  
  • Challenge neighbors to a light display competition and get your whole family involved in decorating. 


If you are at a July 4th celebration where there are personal-use fireworks, here are some safety tipsiv: 

  • Never allow children near fireworks – they should observe the display from a distance.  
  • Don’t touch fireworks after they’ve been fired; they can still be hot. Keep a first aid kit handy.  
  • Keep a garden hose nearby to bathe firework pieces that don’t fully ignite or fizzle out.  
  • Sparklers may look harmless, but they can reach temperatures higher than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheitv and may cause serious burns – I would advise against purchasing these fireworks because the temptation for a child to hold one is too great.  


Fireworks-related first-degree burns (burns that affect only the outer layer of skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling), and some small second-degree burns (no bigger than 2 – 3 inches wide, affecting outer and underlying skin, causing pain, redness, swelling, and blistering), may be treated at home. To treat a first-degree burn, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following tipsvi 

  • Immediately cool the burn by immersing it in cool tap water or apply cold, wet compresses for about 10 minutes or until the pain subsides. 
  • Apply petroleum jelly two to three times daily.   
  • Cover the burn with a nonstick, sterile bandage and allow any blisters to heal on their own.   
  • Consider taking over-the-counter pain/anti-inflammatory medication.   
  • Protect the area from the sun. 


Major burns — third degree burns (which affect the deep layers of skin and may cause white or blackened, burned skin) and second degree burns larger than 2 – 3 inches wide, or second-degree burns on the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or over a major joint — need urgent medical care to help prevent scarring, disability, and deformityvii 

 Help us keep our kids, family members, and neighbors safe for many Fourth of Julys to come by taking these precautions while enjoying the festivities.