In those places where consumer fireworks aren't banned altogether, follow these tips to help make your fireworks celebration this year fun and safe.
Look for labeling. Legal fireworks will have steps for use and warnings; illegal fireworks most likely won't. This is a good way to tell what kind of fireworks you're buying. But don't stop there! Take the time to read the directions and safety precautions for each item for using it.
Don't let children handle the fireworks or light them. This includes sparklers, which are in the top three causes of injuries every year. Many think they are safe, but sparklers can burn up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily cause clothing to catch fire. If you do want to give your children sparklers, pull hair back and put them in closed-toed shoes, and instruct them to keep it at least six feet from anyone's body and at arm's length from their own, to never hand a lit sparkler to someone or hold more than one lit sparkler, to not run with sparklers, and to always stick the sparkler in a bucket of water when it stops burning.
Keep animals inside or safely secured in their pens. The sound can easily irritate and spook animals, making stressful or even dangerous situations more likely.
Let sleeping duds lie. Don't try to re-light or fix a "dud." If the item fails to go off, let it stand at least five minutes before approaching it and putting it in a bucket of water. Read the package directions on how to safely dispose of it.
Follow the law. It can be tempting to skirt the law of the land in order to buy some amazing fireworks or kits to assemble them, but they're illegal for a reason. One of the most dangerous illegal fireworks, the M-1000, is like a stick of dynamite, and all illegal fireworks have incredible firepower, making them powerful enough to blow off human appendages. Be the party-pooper parent this once and don't mess with illegal fireworks.