The 4th of July is a great holiday for fun in the sun, cook-outs and fireworks. Unfortunately, injury can put a damper on the festivities. Follow our safety tips to ensure your family enjoys the fun, complete with all their fingers and toes!
If you want to enjoy the most spectacular fireworks in the sky – leave it to the professionals. We have a full list of local firework events and if you are attending, be sure your family stays at least 500 feet away from the show. Mistakes rarely happen – but if they do, you want everyone to be a safe distance away.
When packing up a blanket, chairs and snacks – don’t forget the ear plugs. Fireworks are LOUD and can cause damage to the hearing of both adults and children. The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure. For children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. If you are dealing with a firework that explodes at 170 decibels, you would have to stand 15 to 20 meters away before you are at a safe limit. Children would have to stand 50 to 60 meters away from that same firework. Infants should not be exposed to fireworks, because they generally experience the greatest amount of sound pressure. Again, to be safe, try to be at least 500 feet away.
If you plan on entertaining with your own fireworks, follow safety precautions. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2016 there were 11,000 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms because of fireworks.
In Maryland, only gold-labeled sparklers, novelty items are allowed, these include party poppers, snap pops, and snakes, as well as ground-based sparkler devices. Baltimore City, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County have a complete ban on all fireworks, including sparklers.
Common Sense Safety Precautions:
- Never give fireworks to children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time. Never attempt to re-light “a dud.” Wait 15 to 30 minutes to make sure it really is not going off, then place the dud in a bucket of water to soak.
- Once a sparkler goes “out”, put it in a bucket of water to cool – sparklers burn at over 2,000 degreesFahrenheit. Accidentally stepping on one can cause a serious burn.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.