An average of 230 people go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding July 4th

Fireworks safety
Image: Pixabay
June 30, 2016

Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also be extremely dangerous. If not used properly, fireworks can lead to severe and even fatal injuries.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday. More than 50 percent of those injuries are burns.

A study conducted by CPSC in 2014 found that—between June 20 and July 20—nine people died due to eight fireworks-related incidents. In at least two of those incidents, the victims were not the ones using the fireworks.

The CPSC study found that the most fireworks-related injuries come from the use of firecrackers (20 percent of reported injures), followed by sparklers (19 percent), reloadable shells (9 percent), novelty fireworks (6 percent), roman candles (4 percent), bottle rockets (2 percent), multiple tube fireworks (2 percent), and firework fountains (1 percent). The cause of the remaining 31 percent of injuries was unspecified.

If you plan on including fireworks in your July 4th celebration, follow these important safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

For more information about fireworks safety, visit CPSC.gov.