Thousands of Americans, many of them children, are injured each year in incidents associated with fireworks, according to the National Council of Fireworks Safety. Most of these injuries occur during the Fourth of July holiday and include serious burns, loss of fingers, and blindness.
Fireworks Injuries by the Numbers
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that for fireworks-related injuries:
- There were more than 26,500 in 2013, including 10,507 emergency department visits.
- Forty-four percent of the patients treated in emergency rooms in 2012 were younger than age 20.
- The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (41 percent of injuries); head, face and ears (19 percent); trunk (15 percent); and legs (13 percent).
- More than half of these injuries were burns.
- 600 injuries were related to sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Viewing public displays handled by professionals is the safest way to enjoy fireworks on the Fourth of July or any other day. Even then, keep a safe distance away.
If you plan to celebrate the holiday with your own fireworks, these precautions can help prevent injuries:
- Don’t let children play with the fireworks.
- Never place any part of your body over a fireworks device.
- Make sure anyone who handles fireworks wears safety goggles to protect the eyes from flying sparks or debris.
- Don’t use bottle rockets. Their flight paths are often erratic, and rocket launchers sometimes explode, sending pieces of glass or metal flying.
- Don’t consume alcohol when using fireworks.
- Read the cautionary labels.
- Don’t try to re-light fireworks that have not worked properly.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of malfunction or fire.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Follow label directions.
- Ignite fireworks outdoors.
- Light only one at a time.
- Buy from reliable fireworks sellers.
- Never give fireworks to small children.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July celebration!