Fireworks on the 4th: Summer safety tips

Fireworks are a popular Fourth of July tradition. But did you know that even sparklers could cause serious injuries? It is important to be aware of local laws, and use common sense to stay safe when using fireworks.

fourth of july fireworks

Firework safety tips

  • Do not use fireworks while drinking alcohol.
  • Do not buy illegal fireworks. For a list of permissable fireworks in Virginia, click here.
  • Do not allow children to use fireworks.
  • Always have a hose and a bucket of water on hand.
  • Do not attempt to re-light “dud” fireworks.
  • Keep pets far away from all fireworks.

How are sparklers dangerous?

Most parents don’t know that sparklers could burn at around 2,000 degrees – enough to melt some metals. Sparklers are usually lit in the dark, and young children might be excited enough to run around with them. Oftentimes, their small arms fail to keep their sparklers far enough from their bodies.  In 2020, about 900 injuries were caused by sparklers.  Glow sticks can be a safer alternative for young children.

child holding sparklers

Illegal Fireworks

Illegal fireworks can also be a serious hazard. The federal government has banned a variety of fireworks that are exceptionally dangerous. These include: large reloadable mortar shells, cherry bombs, M-80 salutes, larger firecrackers containing more than two grains of powder, as well as build-your-own firework kits.


Fireworks can also cause wildfires. Fire officials from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) warn that even fireworks that have burned out are hot enough to start a wildfire. To avoid this threat, it is important to keep a bucket of water or a garden hose close by.

One of the safest ways to enjoy Independence Day is to attend a professional fireworks show, and avoid handling or firing consumer fireworks completely. Otherwise, be mindful of children and pets, and always take proper safety precautions.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!