Stars, Stripes and Safety

Before you get all fired up for Fourth of July (search) celebrations, remember to exercise precaution when using your Independence Day explosives.

According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign (search), every year more than 5,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in the United States.

Seven states ban all consumer fireworks: Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Click here to see a map detailing which fireworks are legal and not in all 50 states (Adobe Acrobat required to view pdf).

Follow these important fireworks safety tips to prevent unnecessary injury:

— Always read and follow label directions.

— Buy from reliable sellers. Stay away from illegal explosives.

— Use outdoors only.

— Never experiment or make your own fireworks.

— Have a full bucket of water handy for any emergency and to douse used sparklers.

— Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.

— Never try to re-ignite fireworks that have malfunctioned. Soak them with water and throw away.

— Never ignite fireworks while holding them. Only light one at a time, and move quickly away.

— Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

— Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

— Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

— Never let children handle or light fireworks. Even sparklers can be dangerous if unsupervised. Tell children that they should leave the area immediately if their friends are using fireworks.

— Discuss safety procedure with your children. Teach children to "stop, drop and roll" if their clothes catch fire. Make sure they know how to call 9-1-1. Show them how to put out fireworks by using water or a fire extinguisher.

— If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

— The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.

— Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials.

— Make sure you give yourself enough room in a safe location -- away from buildings, vehicles and flammable materials.

— Watch what you wear. Loose clothing can catch fire and should not be worn while handling fireworks.

Source:, American Pyrotechnics Association, National Council on Fireworks Safety