SIU School of Medicine

Jump directly to a section:

Office of Public Affairs



Firework Safety

Thousands of people go to hospital emergency rooms with injuries from fireworks each year.  Most of these injuries occur around the Fourth of July.

Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially this time of year.  But fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious injuries if proper precautions are not taken. Dr. Jason Kegg, assistant professor of emergency medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains the most common injuries from fireworks.

“The most common, I think that we see are burn-related injuries, especially since most fireworks require some type of lighting.  They do generate a lot of heat, so burns, I think, lead the list in type of injury, but you can get anything from loss of fingers, loss of toes, loss of a limb, depending on the type of firework.”

Dr. Kegg says there are no safe fireworks and all fireworks are meant to be displayed at a distance.  Most injuries occur when people get too close.  In Illinois the only legal fireworks are sparklers, smoke bombs and little snakes that expand when they are lit.  Dr. Kegg suggests some safety precautions if you choose to use fireworks.
“Adult supervision is key, lighting and supervising and managing the fireworks ...  Making sure that you have a source of water close – be that a hose that’s on and ready to be used if need be, or even if it is just a bucket of water. And then keeping things away from children – especially lighters, matches ...”

By being cautious and following safety rules when using and watching fireworks, you can have a safe and happy Fourth of July. If anyone is injured by fireworks, they should go to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible.

Ruth Slottag