People of all ages enjoy watching fireworks light up the night sky. Some teens even enjoy setting off fireworks; however, setting off fireworks is an illegal activity in some states. This may not seem like a big deal but setting off fireworks in one of these areas has several possible consequences, such as:
- Criminal charges for possessing or lighting fireworks
- Fines, community service and other punishments
- Increased risk of burns from defective fireworks
- Increased risk of eye injuries
Fireworks Possession Laws
Fireworks possession laws vary by state. Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York have banned all consumer fireworks. This includes sparklers and firework novelty items. Illinois, Vermont, Ohio and Iowa allow novelty items and wood stick sparklers, but they have outlawed other types of fireworks. The remaining states and the District of Columbia allow some types of consumer fireworks, but it is best to check state laws and local ordinances before buying them.
When teens use fireworks illegally, they risk setting fires and damaging property. A teen caught damaging property with fireworks may be charged with property damage or negligence. These are criminal offenses that can be linked to possessing or using fireworks illegally. You may think using fireworks is fun, but it is actually very dangerous.
When you use fireworks illegally, you are putting your own safety at risk. In 2005, 10,800 Americans were treated for fireworks-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fireworks injuries usually affect the eyes, hands, ears, face and head. Homemade fireworks are especially dangerous for teens, as the chemicals used to make these fireworks can cause explosions. You should never attempt to make your own fireworks, as handling dangerous chemicals puts you at risk for chemical burns, poisoning and other serious accidents.
According to information released by the Trauma Foundation at San Francisco General Hospital, all types of fireworks have the potential to cause injuries. In 2002, firecrackers were responsible for 18 percent of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. Sparklers accounted for 26 percent of fireworks-related injuries. Experimenting with these products puts you and others at risk for burns and other physical injuries.
Safety of Others
When you use fireworks illegally, you are putting everyone around you in harm’s way. Since many teens do not know how to light fireworks correctly, there is a possibility that other teens in the area will be injured by fireworks that spiral out of control. If fireworks explode on the ground, anyone in close proximity can suffer serious injuries.
Fireworks can damage trees, fences, buildings and other property, especially if they are used incorrectly. Teens should always have adult supervision, among other things, when using any fireworks. Because so many people enjoy fireworks shows, fireworks seem fun and harmless; however, teens can get in a lot of trouble just by having fireworks in their possession. The safety of surrounding property should always be a concern for teens who want to use fireworks.
It is also important to know how to handle emergencies related to fireworks. Teens who use fireworks should have first aid supplies available in case someone is injured during the fireworks show. Taking a basic first aid course is also a good idea, as first aid measures can prevent complications while waiting for an ambulance or emergency responder to arrive. Always have a cell phone with you in case you have to call 911 during an emergency. If fireworks are illegal in your area, simply avoid them altogether. If they are legal, it is important to use them according to the instructions on the package, and an adult should always be present.