Party Resource Guide
Presented by Event & Wedding Planners
Consumer Product Safety Commission
CPSC Document #012
The American traditions of parades, cookouts, and fireworks help
us celebrate the summer season, especially our nation's birthday on
the Fourth of July. However, fireworks can turn a joyful celebration
into a painful memory when children and adults are injured while
using fireworks. Although legal consumer fireworks that comply with
the CPSC regulations can be relatively safe, all fireworks are
hazardous and can cause injury. Fireworks are classified as
hazardous substances under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
Some fireworks such as illegal firecracker type devices (M-80's,
quarter sticks) and professional display fireworks should never be
used or handled by consumers or children due to serious injuries and
death that can and do occur from such use or handling.
The following are examples of injuries from legal and illegal
A 33-year-old man was setting off mortar style fireworks out
of a black plastic pipe while in his backyard. As he leaned over the
one of the tubes and lit the fuse, the fireworks immediately went
off striking him in the face. He was transported to a hospital where
he was pronounced dead from head injuries.
A 6-inch fountain that shot colored fireballs injured a
4-year-old girl. When the fountain tipped over, the victim was
struck in the chest by a fireball. She sustained 2nd and 3rd degree
burns to her chest and neck. She was hospitalized for three weeks
for burn treatment and skin grafts.
A 15-year-old male tied together the wires of 10 sparklers. The
sparklers ignited quickly and burned down very fast, finally
exploding in his hand. The victim sustained a five-inch long
laceration to his hand and forearm exposing muscle. Also, debris
from the explosion lodged in his hand and arm. The victim had
plastic surgery and has recovered.
To help prevent incidents like these, the federal government,
under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, prohibits the sale of
the most dangerous types of fireworks to consumers. These banned
fireworks include large reloadable mortar shells, cherry bombs,
aerial bombs, M-80 salutes and larger firecrackers containing more
than two grains of powder. Also banned are mail-order kits designed
to build these fireworks.
In a regulation that went into effect December 6, 1976, the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission lowered the permissible charge in
firecrackers to no more than 50 milligrams of powder. In addition,
these amended regulations provide performance specifications for
fireworks other than firecrackers intended for consumers use,
including a requirement that fuses burn at least 3 seconds, but no
longer than 9 seconds. All fireworks must carry a warning label
describing necessary safety precautions and instructions for safe
The Commission has issued a performance requirement to reduce the
risk of potentially dangerous tipover of large multiple tube mine
and shell devices. Tip-over of these devices has resulted in two
fatalities. The new requirement went into effect on March 26, 1997.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in
2002 about 8,800 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for
injuries associated with fireworks. Over half the injuries were
burns and most of the injuries involved the hands, eyes, and head.
About half of the victims were under 15 years of age.
Fireworks should be used only with extreme caution. Older
children should be closely supervised, and younger children should
not be allowed to play with fireworks.
Before using fireworks, make sure they are permitted in your
state or local area. Many states and local governments prohibit or
limit consumer fireworks, formerly known as class C fireworks, which
are common fireworks and firecrackers sold for consumer use.
Consumer fireworks include shells and mortars, multiple tube
devices, Roman Candles, rockets, sparklers, firecrackers with no
more than 50 milligrams of powder and novelty items such as snakes,
airplanes, ground spinners, helicopters, fountains, and party
poppers. In general consumer fireworks are: DOT Class C 1.4G UN0336.
The following is a summary of state regulations as of May 1,
I. STATES THAT ALLOW SOME OR ALL TYPES OF CONSUMER FIREWORKS
(formerly known as class C fireworks), APPROVED BY ENFORCING
AUTHORITY, OR AS SPECIFIED IN LAW (37 states including the
District of Columbia):
District of Columbia
(The above states enforce the federal regulations and applicable
III. STATES THAT ALLOW ONLY SPARKLERS AND/OR OTHER NOVELTIES
(total of 7 states):
IV. STATES THAT BAN ALL CONSUMER FIREWORKS (including
those which are allowed by CPSC regulations) - (total of 7 states):
To help consumers use fireworks more safely, the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission offers these recommendations:
- Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any
circumstances. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal
"safe" firework for the young, burn at very high
temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot
understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in
case of emergency.
- Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under
close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.
- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry
leaves or grass and flammable materials.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring
on fireworks that don't go off.
- Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for
special storage directions.
- Observe local laws.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework
- Dont experiment with homemade fireworks.
PARENTS SHOULD SUPERVISE THE ORDERING AND USE OF MAILORDER
"MAKE YOUR OWN" FIREWORK KITS.
To report a dangerous product or a product related injury and
for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's
hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800)
638-8270. Consumers can obtain releases and recall information
at CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov. Consumers can report product
hazards to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This document is in the public domain. It may be reproduced in
part or in whole by an individual or organization without
permission. If it is reproduced, however, the Commission would
appreciate knowing how it is used. Write to the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission, Office of Information and Public
Affairs, Washington, D.C. 20207
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with
protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury
or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under
the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage
from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700
billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers
and families from products that pose a fire, electrical,
chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The
CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as
toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household
chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline
in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer
products over the past 30 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury,
call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter
at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html.
Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at
CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.
Patriotic Theme Section includes paper goods,
decorations and colorful wearables as you celebrate the
USA. From Memorial Day, 4th of July to Labor Day use
Red, White & Blue for your colorful Patriotic Day