MADISON – Wisconsin residents statewide are sure to celebrate the Fourth of July with family gatherings, grilling and fireworks. State officials are asking Wisconsin families to use great caution with fireworks during this year’s celebrations, particularly in the presence of children.
“In the excitement of the holiday, adults occasionally let their kids handle or get too close to these explosive and incendiary devices – something they would never allow any other time of the year,” said Michelle Reinen, Director of Wisconsin’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “40% of fireworks injuries are sustained by children under the age of 15. Adults should be responsible for the lighting of all fireworks, and children should enjoy the sights and sounds from a safe distance.”
In 2012, an estimated 8,700 consumers were treated in emergency rooms nationwide for fireworks-related injuries. 1,000 of those injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets – products which are falsely considered by many Americans to be safe for children.
In 2011, 15 Wisconsin residents were hospitalized and 83 visited emergency departments due to fireworks-related injuries, according to Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer.
Wisconsin law regulates the use of fireworks. Fireworks such as Roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, mortars – anything that explodes or leaves the ground – can only be purchased and used with a permit issued by your local government.
Non-explosive devices such as sparklers and cones do not require a permit, but that does not mean they can be used safely by children. More than half of the nation’s reported fireworks-related injuries are burns. “Many parents think of sparklers as a safe toy, but a lit sparker burns at temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns,” Anderson said.
A recent and welcome trend for Fourth of July celebrations is for children to play with glow sticks, bracelets or necklaces rather than fireworks. They are safe, available in a wide range of colors and styles, and last up to 12 hours – keeping your kids occupied far longer than a potentially dangerous sparkler. Flashing LED lights are also a fun option for kids. As an added benefit, any of these items will help make a child visible to a driver if they are playing after nightfall.
If you plan to use fireworks, follow these safety tips to ensure a safe Fourth of July for your family:
Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
A responsible adult should closely supervise all fireworks activities.
Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, flammable materials and dry leaves and grass.
Light one item at a time and then move back quickly.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or light them in or near metal or glass containers.
Keep a bucket of water or a hose handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
Most importantly – if fireworks fizzle and don’t ignite, douse them with water and do not relight them!
Find additional information on fireworks safety on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website: http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/health/InjuryPrevention/Fireworks.htm
For consumer information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection on the web at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov; by e-mail at email@example.com; by phone at 1-800-422-7128; or on Facebook: facebook.com/wiconsumer.