It’s Independence Day, so it’s a good time to remind everyone of the potential danger posed by fireworks to people and property. We encourage everyone to celebrate July 4th, but to make sure that you do it in a way that is safe and legal. In just an instant, fireworks can start fires that cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage or can cause injuries ranging from minor burns to life-altering losses of eyes, fingers or limbs.
Aren’t many fireworks just flat out illegal?
Yes, they are… Before you buy any fireworks, you should check with your city for a list of those that are legal. Generally, any firework that leaves the ground or explodes is probably going to be illegal for consumers in most Idaho jurisdictions. As you know, recently the Idaho Attorney General issued an opinion that it is illegal to sell any fireworks that do not remain on the ground or fireworks that emit sparks higher than 20 feet into the air to the general public. If you want to see aerial fireworks this July 4th, leave it to the pros and attend a professional display (Here’s a partial list of fireworks displays in Idaho July 4).
Are there any fireworks that are OK for children to play with, like maybe sparklers?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should never be allowed to play with fireworks, not even sparklers. No matter how careful we are, they can cause burns and injure children’s eyes. And many children injured by fireworks are just spectators! Glow sticks are a good alternative, but if you do choose to give kids sparklers, supervise them and make sure they keep the sparklers outside and away from their faces, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can burn from 1,800° Fahrenheit all the way up to 3,000° Fahrenheit. For reference, glass starts to melt at 900°. Water boils at 212°. Does that sound like something you want your child to play with?
What are some good general safety tips?
- Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and hose nearby so you can quickly douse a fire.
- Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.
- Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
- Children who handle or will be near fireworks should wear eye protection such as inexpensive safety glasses.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water for a few hours before throwing them in the trash can.
- Please remember your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened and stressed on the Fourth – if your pet is scared by fireworks, ask a veterinarian for help. Keep pets indoors so they can’t panic and run loose and possibly get injured or bite someone You also may want to put them in their crates so they feel safer and don’t try to escape the noise by breaking through window or door screens. Keep their collar and ID tags on.
A Closer Look at Your Health airs weekly on KBOI-670AM in Boise. This is an edited transcript from the July 3, 2017 program.