Fire Safety this Fourth of July

Fireworks and July 4 go hand in hand, and yet, every year, when consumers use fireworks, problems abound!

Here are the statistics:


  • In 2011 an estimated 17,800 fires were directly caused by fireworks
    • 1200 structure fires
    • 400 vehicle fires
    • 16,800 outside/other fires
    • On July 4, fireworks account for 2 out of every 5 reported fires, more than any other cause

So here are some SAFETY TIPS to enjoy a wonderful, injury-free 4th of July!

  • Leave fireworks to the professionals: attend public fireworks displays and sit in designated areas
  • If you plan on using fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area, and obey local laws
  • NEVER purchase fireworks wrapped in brown paper – those are meant for professional use
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives – they can kill!
  • NEVER light fireworks inside the home or near grass or other flammable material.  Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances
  • Read and follow all firework instructions carefully
  • Don’t wear loose clothing if lighting fireworks
  • Let your young children use glow sticks instead of sparklers
  • Teach older children to stand while using sparklers, and not to run or wave them. Use one at a time.
  • Don’t hold a child in your arms when lighting sparklers or fireworks
  • Always stand when using sparklers, and after they have gone out submerge in a bucket of water
  • Soak spent fireworks in a bucket of water before placing the in an outdoor trash can
  • If a firework is a dud, don’t attempt to relight it, and don’t hover over it. Wait 20 minutes and submerge it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have buckets of water and/or a hose nearby
  • Wear safety goggles if setting off fireworks
  • Stand by and supervise teens involved with fireworks
  • Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix! Make sure the supervising adult is sober, prepared for emergency, and aware
  • Call 911 if any severe or painful injury, and seek medical care in the ER if any eye injury


And a word about backyard BBQs…

They are a central focus of summer, and roll out in droves on July 4. They are an additional source of thermal burns, so be aware and cautious this holiday!

  • Make sure children are at a distance from the grill
  • Use only approved starters to get coals going
  • Make sure matches and lighters are out of reach of children
  • Have fire-stopping material nearby
    • Baking soda or salt for grease fires (or a fire extinguisher)
    • Bucket of water to douse coals
    • Let all coals and embers cool in the BBQ and empty the next day to avoid sparking your trash can



About Dr. JJ Levenstein

Dr. JJ Levenstein is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and in 2012 retired from her thriving private pediatric practice in Encino, California. She served on the staff of CHLA and Encino Tarzana Hospitals for 20 years and was consistently voted one of the Best Doctors in America® from 2003 through 2012. Drawing from her experience as a pediatrician and mom, Dr. Levenstein serves as president and co-founder of MD Moms, makers of Baby Silk, the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician moms. She serves on the board of United Cerebral Palsy LA, is an active writer and sits on the advisory boards of several child-centered websites. She is an accomplished chef and completed culinary school in 2013! She has had a lifelong interest in child nutrition and all things related to preventive health.

Leave a Reply