Doctors warn of the dangers of illegal Fourth of July fireworks


Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand-in-hand, but in Illinois it’s illegal to purchase fireworks – so Phantom Fireworks set up a shop just across the border in Beloit.

“This is originally why [the original owners] chose this location,” said manager Jennifer Martin.

“For nine years now, we have made it a routine trip to come up, with our grandparents, and get fireworks and bring them down to Illinois for a 4th of July celebration,” said Illinois resident Grant Lackey. “Feels dangerous, like you’re smuggling.”

So, what happens if you use fireworks in the Land of Lincoln?

For sparklers, small cap guns, or snappers – nothing. They’re considered novelty items, not fireworks.

For most of the other items, you could face a fine or criminal prosecution. 

OSF Saint Anthony Hospital released statistics that say, on average, they see 10 to 15 firework related injuries each year. 

“Injuries to the hand can be especially common and those can be life-altering,” said Dr. Phil Carlson-Dexter, a family physician at Swedish American. “People can lose fingers, their whole hand, their arm. People have been killed by fireworks they purchased themselves, instead of with consideration toward safety.

“If you are using fireworks, even safer, smaller ones, be sure never to hold on to a firework,” Dr. Carlson-Dexter said. “Hold sparklers away from your face and eyes. Don’t wear loose clothing. It’s best to leave the fireworks to the professionals.”

Fireworks are also illegal in certain parts of Wisconsin. It’s suggested that those traveling for the Fourth check with the village or city they’re visiting to determine what can legally be used.

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