The Fourth of July is almost here, and that means many Oklahomans will soon start stocking up on fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. Everyone knows fireworks can be dangerous, and there are many tragic stories in the news every year about people—including young children—who are seriously injured or even killed by fireworks.
Enjoying fireworks is all about using them safely. That means purchasing them only from trusted retailers, using them only in open areas, and never allowing small children to play with them. It also means only using certain types of fireworks and avoiding the most dangerous ones, which include a few mainstays that might surprise you.
Bottle rockets are inexpensive and easy to use. However, they’re among the most dangerous types of fireworks due to how plentiful they are and because parents often think they’re relatively safe and allow their children to play with them.
Bottle rockets are dangerous enough that they can only be purchased with permits in Oklahoma. Bottle rockets have caused serious eye injuries in both adults and children that have led to permanent blindness, and around 1,400 of the 9,200 annual fireworks-related emergency room visits in the U.S. involve bottle rockets.
Sparklers are stationary fireworks that are designed to create impressive visual displays. Like bottle rockets, parents wrongly assume they are safe for their children to handle. However, sparklers are the source of around 20% of fireworks-related injuries.
Children are especially vulnerable to sparkler injuries, as they may hold them too close to their lit ends, or they may wave them around and cause sparks to fall on themselves or people near them. Sparklers can cause children to suffer serious and painful burns in a matter of seconds, and they can cause fires if they’re not properly put out and discarded.
Roman candles are fireworks that shoot multiple projectiles from paper or plastic tubes. Like bottle rockets, Roman candles should only be used when they’re placed inside a stationary object. However, that advice quickly goes out the window during actual usage, especially among children.
Many people hold Roman candles in their hands after lighting them. Not only can this put users at risk of burns and other injuries, but it also makes it more likely that the projectiles will be shot in the direction of another person or a flammable object, such as a tree or building.
Snakes and Smoke Bombs
Fireworks that are designed to be lit on the ground are sometimes marketed to children, as they’re believed to be safer because they don’t emit sparks or shoot projectiles. But children can still be burned by handling them while they’re lit or even by injuring themselves while attempting to light them.
Even fireworks that are designed to be lit on the ground should be used carefully and cautiously, and children should never be allowed to light or play with them unsupervised.
Firecrackers are typically sold as either single units or chained together in arrays of a dozen or more explosives. Like snakes and smoke bombs, firecrackers are typically lit on the ground. But they’re often used in unsafe ways, as they may be thrown or placed inside containers after being lit.
In addition, both adults and children are at risk of suffering serious injuries if they hold them after lighting them. Firecrackers can go off sooner than anticipated, as their fuses may be defective or shorter than normal. People have lost fingers and hands from firecrackers going off while they were holding them.
Some people want to take their fireworks shows beyond what’s typically seen in backyards and family get-togethers. To do so, they may order fireworks that are typically reserved for large-scale displays, such as those put on by cities, amusement parks, and sports teams.
These fireworks are almost always illegal for personal use. Commercial fireworks should never be used by people who don’t have proper training, as they can be extremely dangerous due to their combustive nature and their potential for causing fires and smoke inhalation.
Remember—ALL Fireworks Are BANNED in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma bans the purchase of bottle rockets and skyrockets without permits, and Oklahoma City takes this restriction much further by banning all fireworks entirely. Selling, buying, possessing, manufacturing, or using fireworks is illegal in the city limits without a permit.
Permits can only be acquired when the fireworks will be used for large public shows—not for individuals or family get-togethers. People caught using fireworks without a permit can be fined up to $167 plus court fees, and their fireworks will be confiscated.
Hurt by a Negligent Fireworks User? We Want to Help.
If you or someone you love was hurt by someone who was using fireworks negligently or illegally, you may be eligible for compensation for your injury-related expenses. At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our legal team has helped thousands of injured Oklahomans whose lives were upended by the carelessness of others, and we want to help you, too.
Fireworks are inherently dangerous, and too many people use them without following instructions and safety precautions. When innocent people are injured, they deserve maximum compensation. Contact our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.