Fireworks Safety for Fourth of July

Fireworks go with summer. But if handled improperly, they can cause serious damage not only to your body, including your eyes, but also to property. Consider these facts: 

According to a 2020 study from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) about 7,300 fireworks-related injuries (73 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2019) received treatment in hospital emergency rooms from June 21, 2019 to July 21, 2019. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36 percent of these injuries, while nearly half involved individuals younger than 20 years. The report also found that: 

  • Children age 4 and younger had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries, while teens ages 15 to 19 had the second highest estimated rate. 
  • There were an estimated 900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers, which burn at about 2,000 degrees, and 400 with bottle rockets. 
  • An estimated 800 emergency department-treated injuries were associated with firecrackers. Of these, about 24 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 16 percent with large firecrackers, 3 percent with illegal firecrackers, and the remaining 57 percent were associated with firecrackers of an unspecified size.  

The USCPSC study found that hands and fingers were thbody parts injured most often, followed by legseyeshead, face, and earsand arms.   

Of emergency department-treated injuries, 58 percent were burns, the most common injury to hands, fingers, arms, and legs.  

Most people with fireworks-related injuries--some 87 percent--were treated at a hospital emergency department and then released. About 12 percent of patients were treated in the emergency room and either admitted to the hospital or transferred to another hospital. 

In addition to potentially serious physical injury, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and nearly 17,000 other fires. 

The best way to protect yourself, your family, and those around you is to enjoy only public, professionally run fireworks displays. If you choose to use them, however, then please follow these safety tips:   

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. 
  • Don’t make your own fireworks, or buy any that come in brown paper, which may indicate that they are for professional displays only. 
  • Insist on adult supervision for all fireworks activities.  
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol. 
  • Wear protective eyewear. 
  • Never light fireworks of any kind indoors or hold lighted fireworks in your hands. 
  • Light fireworks one at a time. 
  • Don’t position your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse, and back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting it. 
  • Never try to re-light or handle fireworks that have not ignited fully. 
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person. 
  • Always keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby.  
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. 
  • Soak used and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before throwing them away. 

If a fireworks injury occurs, then go to your nearest hospital emergency room