Change in Ohio fireworks law doesn't make them any safer

Friday, July 01, 2022

More individuals using fireworks means greater potential for injuries

The change in Ohio’s law permits the purchase and discharge of consumer grade fireworks this July 4th weekend, unless restricted by local laws. Even though many communities have prohibited fireworks use with local ordinances, the change is certain to increase the purchase and use of fireworks locally this weekend. This makes safety reminders even more critical than in year’s past.

It is important to remember that fireworks are unsafe in the hands of consumers – due to user error as well as product malfunctions. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2021 approximately 31 percent of selected and tested fireworks products were found to contain noncompliant components, including fuse violations, the presence of prohibited chemicals and pyrotechnic materials overload. This illustrates the fact that just because fireworks may now be legal in some cities in Ohio, they aren’t any safer. In fact, fireworks were involved with an estimated 11,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during 2021, according to the CPSC. Thirty-two percent of those injuries were burns. From 2006 – 2021 there has been a 25 percent increase in fireworks-related injuries.

“We can all agree that fireworks are fun, but the only safe way to observe them is by attending a professional show. The best way to protect your family is to avoid using fireworks at home, including sparklers. Surprisingly, even sparklers heat up to 1200 degrees.” said Safe Kids Greater Cleveland Coordinator Briana Price of UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. In 2021 there were an estimated 1,100 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers.

As the holiday approaches, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s reminds people that the best fireworks safety tips are simple and easy to follow:
  1. If possible, attend public firework displays. Leave lighting fireworks to the professionals.
  2. Give children glowsticks instead of sparklers. Sparklers can heat up to more than 1,200 degrees and are dangerous for young children.
  3. Keep fireworks away from children. Make sure children are a safe distance away from a lit firework.
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