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4th of July Safety Tips

The 4th of July is a lot of fun! But before your family celebrates, it is important that everyone knows about fireworks safety.

Fireworks can cause bodily harm to children and adults if not handled properly. The best way to protect your family is to attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.

Firework Safety Tips

If lighting fireworks at home, please keep these safety tips in mind:

  • ​Children should never play with fireworks without adult supervision. Things like firecrackers, rockets and sparklers are dangerous. If you give your children sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from their face, clothing and hair.
  • Fireworks should be stored in a cool, dry place.
  • Always use fireworks outside. Keep a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Maintain a safe distance. Fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone.
  • Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Point fireworks away from homes, and keep them away from brush, leaves and other flammable substances.
  • Light one firework at a time and never try relighting a dud or an already used firework.
  • Don't allow your children to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Dispose of fireworks safely. Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
  • Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they'll run loose or get injured.

What to do if an Injury Occurs?

If injury occurs, seek medical attention immediately. If an injury is eye-related, don't touch or rub the wound, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don't flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. If it's a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). Call your doctor right away.

Treating Fireworks Injuries​

Hearing Safety


Loud noises from fireworks can damage our hearing. Watch the video below to learn how to protect yourself and your family while enjoying this fun holiday tradition!

  • 4th of July Hearing Safety Tips

    Nathan Williams, Au.D., CCC-A
    Boys Town Audiologist


    Many people each year will probably experience some damage to their hearing as a result of watching fireworks.

    When we throw a stone into a lake there is a ripple effect and sound is the same way.

    At that center point or if you're closest to the firework it's going to be very loud and cause the most risk for developing any hearing loss.

    The further distance away you get the lesser the likelihood of that occurring.

    One recommendation by the World Health Organization is that people who are adults that they not be exposed to anything longer than a hundred and forty decibels of peak some pressure and for a kid, one hundred and twenty decibels of peak sound pressure.

    So when we think about a firework that fires at one hundred and seventy decibels that person would have to stand approximately fifteen to twenty meters away before they're at a safe limit.

    For a child that's much greater in the fifty to sixty meters away.

    When we think about children verses adults and how loud noise impacts them, it all comes down to anatomy.

    With the diameter of the ear canal it's smaller in children than in adults, and that sound pressure is generated greater in a child's ear canal then it is in an adult ear canal.

    For an infant, I wouldn't recommend taking them to any type of environment where the sound is going to be very loud such as a fireworks display or a concert.

    That sound pressure is so much greater and their ear canal is so much smaller.

    You can think about it about it as when you're watering a garden or a tree and you put your thumb over the end of the hose, you make the diameter smaller and the pressure is greater.

    Both big fireworks displays such as that a baseball game or a Fourth of July festival and those that people set off from their driveways, hearing protection is recommended for both situations.

    There are basically two types of hearing protectors that are available.

    These can be purchased from any regular drugstore outlet or sporting goods store.

    There are roll down foam plugs that can go into the ear or headphones that sit over the top of the ear.

    Headphones tend to be a little bit more comfortable and offer a little bit more protection.

    For people who are setting off fireworks either at home or professionally, I would strongly recommend the use of both ear plugs and ear muffs to give them the most protection especially if they're setting off multiple fireworks because they're going to place themselves at greater risk being so close to the firework and not having an opportunity to get further away from the firework before it actually explodes.

    The Fourth of July is a very fun time and it's a week that many Americans celebrate.

    As an Audiologist, I'm not recommending that you sit at home and not enjoy these activities but with properly fit hearing protection you can reduce the risk of any noise-induced hearing loss but you can also enjoy the show and really enjoy this American holiday.​​

Health and Safety Hearing and Balance