This Is How Old Your Kid Should Be Before Shooting Fireworks

by Shannon Evans

You knew it was coming — the year your child starts relentlessly begging you to let him shoot fireworks, starting in mid-June and persisting for weeks. As much as you balk at the idea of your kid playing with anything explosive, you're getting worn down by his persuasive arguments and, hey, you realize firecrackers are really fun. But how old does your kid have to be to shoot fireworks? It depends on where you live.

Although there is clearly a difference between purchasing fireworks and actually shooting them, laws in most states only regulate the former, likely working from the assumption that if a minor buys fireworks, he or she will very likely be shooting them independently. Plus, it's much harder to enforce an age minimum for an activity that often takes place on private property than it is to do it at the site of purchase.

According to USA Today, many states allow teens to begin legally purchasing fireworks at age 16, and again, purchasing assumes shooting. Sounds intuitive, right? If she's old enough to drive tons of deadly metal, she's probably old enough to safely operate a firework. But other states are less stringent: Louisiana teens are free to buy fireworks at age 15, while kids in Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Oklahoma can purchase festive explosives at the tender age of 12.

But, you may be wondering, "what if my child is supervised while shooting fireworks?" This may be legal, but at least one fireworks professional maintains that it is still unsafe. Bruce Zoldan, CEO of Phantom Fireworks, tells Romper that children should never handle, play with, or light fireworks. Zoldan explains, "Fireworks are great family fun, but they burn very hot and are intended to be handled only by responsible and sober adults."

As long as you are within the legal parameters of your state, it's up to you whether you allow your child to shoot fireworks while closely supervised. Different parents will surely come to different decisions, but one thing should remain consistent: everyone must keep in mind the serious safety considerations that come into play with any explosive. No one wants to celebrate the 4th of July in an emergency room.