Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Fourth of July

Sparklers can give children severe burns.

Take fireworks safety seriously this Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is a time for fun and celebration; however, families should follow precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable occasion.

This year’s Fourth of July is like no other in living memory. Last year, it was cause for parades, parties and public fireworks displays. This year, any celebrations will be small-scale and home based.

Which may mean that more people try out home fireworks displays, even though they are illegal in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and many cities in the region. Fireworks stands are seeing lots of business, and the Washington Fire Marshal is expecting lots of firework activity around July 4.

To keep your kids out of the emergency department, Dr. Tony Woodward, medical director of emergency medicine at Seattle Children’s hospital, recommends some basic safety tips.

Sparklers cause burns

Children should never be allowed to use fireworks, and that includes sparklers. In fact, Woodward says the majority of firework-related injuries to children under the age of 5 are caused by sparklers.

“We often see kids with preventable burns and injuries from sparklers,” he says. Sparklers burn at a very high temperature (up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit).

Another important tip is to only light fireworks on level ground.

“At least 50 percent of kids that we see are not the people who are setting off the fireworks, but the bystanders,” Woodward says. Anticipate the consequences and provide adequate supervision to minimize any chance of injury.

And never relight or touch a firework that has not exploded.

If a child is injured by fireworks, Woodward says, “Remove them from the area and stop the burning. If it is serious, you are unsure or it involves face, eyes or hands, the child should be seen by a medical professional.”