Illuminating Fourth of July Firework Safety Tips To Keep Kids and Pets Safe

fireworkshow, mehlville fire department, firesafety tipsFire protection districts across the St. Louis region approach the impending Fourth of July celebrations with mixed emotions. Crews embrace the meaning of the important holiday, yet every firefighter also understands that Independence Day celebrations are never complete without fireworks. Yet, these sparkling blasts of light lead to many injuries, accidental fires, and even fatalities.


Fire districts frequently remind individuals about the dangers of playing with fire, but the very nature of fireworks is to play with fire. As Independence Day looms, Mehlville Fire Protection District urges residents to use caution and common sense. Follow these firework safety tips to keep yourself, your children, and your pets safe and free from harm.




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Thousands of people visit the ER every year for fireworks-related injuries. Fourth of July also has the highest incidence of fires. Always use common sense when igniting fireworks, and keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire emergency. Remember to protect pets and children and keep them away from fireworks!

Fireworks Safety Facts

Most fireworks injuries occur in the weeks leading up to and following the Fourth of July. Burns are the most common type of injury, accounting for 38 percent of all fireworks-related injuries. 

Avoiding injury requires that individuals understand why fireworks pose a serious burn and safety risk. The recipe for creating fireworks requires an explosive mixture. Fireworks showcase their rainbow-hued sparks and loud blasts using a few key ingredients: gunpowder, sulfur, charcoal, and various colorful minerals. 

night time firework show mehlville, mo, st louis

Important Reminder: Fireworks Use Gunpowder 

When we light fireworks, we are igniting gunpowder. As with any explosive material, gunpowder is not always stable or predictable. Some fireworks explode later than expected or fail to detonate when lit. Keep these three safety rules in mind:

Tip #1: Never Relight Fireworks

We will repeat the most important statement. FIREWORKS USE GUNPOWDER, AND GUNPOWDER IS UNPREDICTABLE. Never attempt to relight a firework that seems like a “dud.” Instead, pour water on it to ensure it does not explode unpredictably. 


Tip #2: Shoot Fireworks Away From People and Pets

Always act responsibly when shooting fireworks. Aim all fireworks away from people and pets and ensure everyone keeps a safe distance. 

Tip #3: Light One Firework at a Time

Yes, we understand that the loud blast of 100 firecrackers in a metal garbage can sounds cool. It’s not. Do NOT light more than one firework at a time. Again, all fireworks contain gunpowder. Individuals have no way of knowing if that explosion will result in massive debris shooting out of a can or igniting something. Don’t tempt fate.

Tip #4: Poppers Are Dangerous, Too

Poppers (aka bang snaps, snap its, cherry poppers, etc.) are those little tiny pods that individuals throw on the ground for small pops or explosions. Poppers pop because of an explosive ingredient called silver fulminate. Don’t give poppers to kids. If one of those small pods pops into a child’s hand, the result could be disastrous. One child also suffered an eye injury when he tossed a popper, and a spark flew back at his eye.

Tip #5: Keep Water or a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

It only takes one spark to ignite a fire. When lighting fireworks, always keep a hose, water, or a fire extinguisher nearby. This allows individuals to act quickly if a spark leads to a fire.  

The Most Common Fireworks Injuries

Burns are the leading type of injury related to fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, burns account for 38 percent of reported fireworks injuries. The majority of injuries involved hands and fingers (29 percent). Other commonly injured body parts included arms, head, and eyes (16 percent).

Fireworks Safety for Kids

Children should NEVER be allowed to play with fireworks. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reports that children account for more than 33 percent of ER visits related to fireworks injuries. 

Children between the ages of five and nine are most at risk, according to the hospital. 

Watching parents or family members light and shoot fireworks can tempt children to think these explosive displays are harmless toys. The safest way for everyone to experience fireworks and the beauty of fireworks is at public events where professionals are tasked with the fireworks extravaganza.

Keep kids safe when celebrating the Fourth of July, and check out the massive and stunning fireworks displays across the region. The largest fireworks display in Mehlville is hosted at Jefferson Barracks. Everyone is invited to attend; enjoy food trucks and other fun surprises!

The Explosive Truth About Firecracker Injuries 

Firecrackers are one of the most popular types of fireworks. Unfortunately, many are extremely reckless with firecrackers. Typically, firecrackers are lit in bundles for a massive explosion. 

Think twice before grabbing bundles of these fireworks and setting them ablaze. Firecrackers accounted for 1,300 injuries in 2022!

sparkles holding sparklers

Sparklers: Beautiful and Dangerous

Sparklers are not safe for children. These fireworks are not toys, and they are not cute magic wands to swoosh. Sparklers burn as hot as a blowtorch, and they lead to burns and injuries among young children. In 2022, sparklers led to 600 injuries and are the second most dangerous type of fireworks!

Fireworks: Fire Dangers on Independence Day 

Fire districts know one scary fact about Independence Day. More fires occur on the Fourth of July than on any day of the year. The reason? Fireworks!

When thousands of people play with fire on one day of the year, the risk of a house fire or other type of fire soars substantially. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks led to half of the fires on Independence Day. Statistics from the NFPA note that fireworks sparked approximately 19,500 fires (in 2018).

Always keep a fire extinguisher or water nearby when lighting fireworks. Remember to pour water on the duds and extinguish them completely. Never light fireworks when the weather is extremely dry, and always pay attention to news reports or warnings that alert the public about weather that could make fireworks unsafe.

Pets and Firework Safety

Many animals are afraid of the loud noise associated with fireworks. Dogs and cats outdoors on the Fourth of July may run away, increasing their risk for injury. In addition, flying fireworks could burn or seriously injure pets.

Keep all pets indoors on the Fourth of July. Dogs that feel severe stress around loud noises also may need a thundercoat to help soothe them. 

Have a Blast (Safely) This Independence Day!

Mehlville Fire Protection District wishes all residents a safe and happy Fourth of July. While public fireworks displays are the safest option, some individuals attend celebrations with DIY displays. Follow safety best practices when shooting off fireworks, and remember to keep children and pets safe. Never let children play with fireworks, including sparklers. Be mindful of “poppers,” too. Keep in mind that all fireworks are explosive and have the potential to ignite a blaze. Keep a fire extinguisher or a water source nearby at all times. Celebrate safely and enjoy this day of commemorating freedom!

Fireworks 4th of July