We love the loud booms and bursts of colors that light up the Fourth of July at our hometown fireworks display, but in nearby neighborhoods, people are setting off their own fireworks— and one of them is super dangerous.
Adults and children are igniting their own fireworks, but the “oohs” and “aahs” quickly turned to agony and a trip to the emergency room for some. According to the 2018 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) fireworks report, firecrackers were the number one cause of injuries, accounting for 19 percent of the estimated 9,100 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries during the one month (June 22 to July 22) Fourth of July festivities. Young males, aged 5 to 15, were injured the most by firecrackers, accounting for 500 of the estimated 1,000 firecracker injuries. Hands and fingers were the body parts affected the most when illegal firecrackers were used and injuries affecting the eyes were seen the most from smaller firecrackers.
Coolest destinations for July 4th
Coolest destinations for July 4th
Bristol, Rhode Island
The town of Bristol may only have a population of under 23,000, but it's known country-wide for its Fourth of July celebrations and has earned the impressive title of "America's most patriotic town."
In fact, the New England charmer is home to the oldest Foruth of July parade in the United States. Founded in 1785 by Rev. Henry Wight, who was also a veteran of the Revolutionary War, the celebration has gone on to attract over 200,000 people for its annual "The Military, Civic and Firemen’s Parade."
The Dallas suburb regularly makes it onto the list of the most spectacular firework shows in the United States. The show, aptly named "Kaboom Town," is held on July 3rd and can be seen anywhere from the 13,000-resident town.
With an eye-popping attendance of 500,000 people, the San Diego spectacular ranks as Southern California's largest fireworks show.
Titled "Big Bay Boom," it expands from Point Loma to Shelter Island to the Coronado Ferry Landing and will bring together visitors and residents for an 18-minute choreographed show filled with pyrotechnics and the most "technically advanced" displays.
Coney Island, New York
Nothing says 'Merica like a hot dog eating contest, specifically one most historic to the East Coast food scene. For 102 years, Nathan's has been putting on its iconic International Hot Dog Eating Contest, which sees contestants compete for prize money by stuffing their faces with over 70 hotdogs.
Fireworks are included, but the hot dog contest is the main attraction of this Brooklyn staple.
Lead, South Dakota
You probably don't get more off-the-beaten-path than South Dakota, but the midwestern state is home to a very unique and historic Fourth of July Celebration.
Every year, residents of the small town gather for patriotic celebrations above the Homestake Mine, which used to be the largest and deepest gold mine in North America until it closed in 2002. The mine produced more than 1.25 million kilograms of gold and though closed, continues to remain a historic site for South Dakotans.
There's a reason the southern gem's July 4th celebrations have been included by leading travel publications. The event comes at no cost to spectators, but features an impressive lineup of country music stars, like Brett Eldredge and Mac McAnally, for their "Let Freedom Sing" concert. The evening then culminates in a spectacular and ear-popping fireworks show with over 1000 fireworks and 200,000 attendees.
Charleston, South Carolina
Guests have the ability to celebrate the Fourth of July in one of the most historic cities in America. Furthermore, spectators can spend the holiday aboard one of the most significant warships in American history, the USS Yorktown. The carrier was built in 1941 and was the tenth to serve in the United States Navy. It now remains the "centerpiece" of the city's beloved Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
Lake Tahoe, California
The "Lights on the Lake" celebrations in Lake Tahoe make for some of the country's most scenic and entrancing patriotic displays during the holiday. Bringing together over 125,000 visitors for a 25-minute display, the show will feature both patriotic bursts and fireworks in the form of smiley faces and butterflies.
Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota
Over 200,000 people take over the shores of Lake Minnetonka for one of the area's most exciting events of the year. The annual patriotic evening, which was established in 1853, kicks off with its signature Firecracker Run followed by a spectacular fireworks display worth over $100K. For the first time, guests can experience the show from the top of the Ferris Wheel, which will provide the ultimate view of the festivities.
The biggest Fourth of July festival takes place in one of the oldest and most historic cities in America. Boston's celebrations have brought in 14 million people in the past 40 years for its annual celebrations for a 5-day celebration full of Revolutionary War reenactments, speeches, and cruises around Boston Harbor. Of course, the festivities end with fireworks and churchbell rings.
What better way to celebrate America's independence in the City of Brotherly love, home to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? The annual Wawa Welcome America concert takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (yes, everything is revolutionary-tied) with a spectacular performance by Jennifer Hudson and Meghan Trainor. Two light shows take place over the Deleware River, as do three fireworks displays, and 50 activities over the 6-day event.
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All fireworks, including firecrackers, are potentially dangerous when they are not handled or used safely. Lighting a firecracker while holding it is a big no-no. When it explodes at a close range, the hands, fingers, and the face are in direct line of fire. Attempting to re-light a dud is super dangerous as it can explode unexpectedly. Launching firecrackers from other objects, throwing them at people, or lighting more than one at a time are also all scenarios that are risky.
If you still want to light a few firecrackers, it’s important to know which ones are legal. Legal firecrackers are limited to 50 milligrams of explosive composition and usually sold in small packages wrapped in red or other packaging containing instructions for use and warnings. “Consumers should beware of any firecracker not packaged with warnings and labels as they may be illegal explosives and very dangerous!” says Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnic Association (APA). By the way, M-80’s, M-1000s, and Quarter Sticks firecrackers are illegal in all states. Find out which, if any fireworks are legal in your state.
All firecrackers should be used under close adult supervision and outdoors, Heckman shares. Other safety measures include never holding a firecracker in your hand to light it, wearing safety glasses, placing the firecracker on a level surface on the ground, and lighting the fuse with an extended lighter, then moving away. If the firecracker doesn’t go off, don’t re-light it. Use a hose or other water source to soak the firecracker then safely dispose of it in an outdoor waste bin. Of course, the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to go to the top Independence Day firework display in every state.