10 fireworks substitutes for a safer family Fourth of July

July 4 fireworks celebration in Philadelphia 2021
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Fireworks are a traditional way to celebrate the summer. Fireworks are also dangerous, however. According to an estimate by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10,000 people went to the ER for fireworks-related injuries in 2019.

If you have children, the risk is even higher; children under 15 accounted for 36% of the estimated fireworks-related injuries. And children ages 0 to 4 had the highest rate of fireworks-related ER visits.

Fortunately, firing up dangerous (and often illegal) pyrotechnics at home isn’t the only way to celebrate America this year. There are other, less risky substitutes for summer fireworks, sparklers and firecrackers that don’t involve uncontrolled flames.

CBS Essentials has rounded up eight firework substitutes for a safer family celebration.

Light up the night with glow sticks

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Glow Mind via Amazon

Glowsticks are a safe way to fill the night with light, whether they’re waved around in the air or worn as a necklace. Just bend them until they snap, and they’ll glow for up to 6 hours. Comes in a pack of 100.


Shoot confetti into the sky with a confetti cannon

confetti cannon
Legend & Co. via Amazon

This year, trade the fireworks for a loud, colorful pop of confetti. These air-powered confetti cannons fire a blast of biodegradable confetti up to 25 feet in the air. Comes in a pack of five.


Light-up balloons with LEDs

Multicolored balloons
Amazon

Here’s another fun, safe way to light up the night: Put LED balloon lights inside some colorful 12-inch balloons. Step one is to buy this package of 100 balloons in 12 assorted colors. It’s currently $1 off at Amazon.

Then, purchase this pack of 100 battery-operated LED flash ball balloon lights. The shine will outlast any party — Amazon reviewers say they stay lit longer than a week. Reviewers also recommend you keep the plastic tabs that come with these balls and reinsert them after use to turn them off.

To take this bright idea to the next level, purchase a tank of helium for your illuminated balloons. The LED balls are lightweight enough that a balloon will still float in the air with a flash ball inside! One tank fills approximately 27 balloons (11-inch).


Get wild with silly string

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JA-RU via Amazon

Aerosol streamer string cans are the perfect way to kick off a summer party. And, yes, the foam is fireproof. Available in packs of 3 (price shown), 6, 12 and 24.


Blow giant bubbles with a bubble wand

Bubble wand
Joyin via Amazon

Bubbles are another fun way to celebrate with young children. These 4.8-star-rated bubble wands come with 4 ounces of solution each, so you don’t need to add anything extra to start the fun.


Throw a laser light show

RGB Party Lights
Chinly via Amazon

Create the illusion of fireworks with the help of a LED laser light projector. It will throw colors upward — or against a wall or fence —  and flash to the beat of music.


Light up your trees with star string lights

LED star lights
Minetom via Amazon

Create some patriotic summer ambiance with a set of battery-operated (3 AA) star string lights, perfect for decorating trees, a patio or any other outdoor party area. Each 16-foot set includes a wireless remote with eight lighting modes.


Host a summer movie night with an outdoor projector

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Bigasuo via Amazon

Host an outdoor movie night or livestream a professional fireworks show with this best-selling, 4.5-star-rated 1080p HD video projector that comes bundled with a 100-inch projection screen. It includes ports for AV, HDMI and USB input — just connect a Roku streaming stick or streaming box and you’re good to go.

This projector from Bigasuo, normally priced at $240, is currently on sale at Amazon for $161. And if you clip the coupon before checkout, you’ll save an extra $50.