Newsroom > DHHS News Release


June 26, 2008

Marla Augustine, DHHS, Communications and Legislative Services, (402-471-4047),

Note: Sound bites from Dan Cillessen, Administrator of DHHS Health Promotion, are available at:


Nebraska Safe Kids Promotes Fireworks Safety

Lincoln – Families across the nation will celebrate the Fourth of July with picnics, outings to the lake and neighborhood barbecues. Above all, fireworks displays will be the highlight of Fourth of July festivities and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services urges people to be careful.

"Fireworks can be the best part of a Fourth of July celebration for kids, yet each year many in Nebraska are burned or disfigured by fireworks," said Dan Cillessen, Administrator of the Health Promotion Section at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. "The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community celebration where professionals handle them."

In Nebraska, 305 fireworks-related injuries were reported in 2005-2006, averaging 152 per year. Children and young adults accounted for two-thirds of the injuries, the most common age group being 15-19.

However, children age five and under are at the highest risk for sparkler-related injuries. Many parents and caregivers overestimate their children's ability to handle fireworks, creating a dangerous environment for everyone involved. Fireworks-related injuries usually involve the hands and fingers, eyes or head and can sometimes result in second-degree burns, blinding or even death. Nationally, nearly 4,000 children age 14 and under are treated every year in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries.

To celebrate safely, follow these tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Nebraska Safe Kids:

  • Stay away from illegal or homemade fireworks, which can be deadly.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Fireworks are not toys. Even sparklers can cause burns.
  • Have a garden hose and bucket filled with water handy in case of malfunction or fire.
  • Never shoot fireworks off in metal or glass containers.
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials.
  • Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction.

Nebraska Safe Kids is part of Safe Kids Worldwide, the first and only national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury - the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. There are Safe Kids programs located throughout Nebraska in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Hastings, O'Neill, Columbus, Superior, Gering, Seward, York, David City, Ogallala, Kearney, Auburn and Albion. They can be contacted for local information or interviews.

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