As you prepare to celebrate Independence Day with family picnics, outings to the beach and neighborhood barbecues, take steps to prevent these festivities from turning into tragedies. Each Fourth of July, hundreds of children are permanently disfigured due to burns by fireworks.
- Each year, fireworks in the United States cause approximately twelve deaths, 2000 serious eye injuries, and 5000 other injuries (including amputated fingers).
- Although many people mistakenly believe that sparklers are safe, sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly hot enough to melt gold)!
If you want to DIY your own Independence Day fireworks display, be sure to check the law. In Maryland, most fireworks — including bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles, fire balloons, and signal lights — are illegal.
Only gold-labeled sparklers, novelty items — such as party poppers, snap pops, and snakes — and ground-based sparkler devices are allowed in Maryland.
These items are prohibited across the state by Maryland law:
- Black Cat fireworks
- Bottle rockets
- Crackling balls
- Cherry bombs
- Helicopter-type rockets
- Mortar tubes — anything shot from one is illegal
- Moving tanks or other vehicles
- Roman candles
- Sky rockets
- Smoke bombs
- Spinning wheels
Here are safety tips from the Maryland fire marshal:
- Keep ignition sources away from children
- Use fireworks only outdoors
- Light only one firework at a time and move quickly away from the firework
- Keep children and pets away from fireworks
- Never light fireworks in your hand
- Never throw fireworks
- Soak used fireworks in a bucket of water
- Clean up debris from fireworks
- Never attempt to re-light a firework that did not go off
- Wait 15-20 minutes if a firework did not go off, then soak in a bucket of water
- Do not allow children to handle ground-based or hand-held sparklers. The temperature of a sparkler can reach 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When handling sparklers, do not wear loose clothing.
- You must be at least 16 years old to purchase hand-held and ground-based sparklers.