4th of July Fireworks Safety
If the 4th of July is America’s birthday, fireworks are the candles on the cake. Fireworks have been an Independence Day tradition since America’s first Independence Day celebration in 1777. But fireworks can be dangerous, even deadly, if used improperly. Even those that seem harmless, like sparklers, can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees. That is hot enough to melt some metals and definitely some skin.
Firework Injury Statistics by Year
Statistics indicate a decline in fireworks-related injuries in recent years. Yet, the numbers remain in the thousands. Information provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
- 2010- 8,600
- 2009- 8,800
- 2008- 7,000
- 2007- 9,800
- 2006- 9,200
- 2005- 10,800
Common Firework Injuries
Fireworks can cause serious injury or death. Below are common fireworks-related injuries. Information provided by the National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS).
- loss of hands
- loss of fingers
- head and face injuries
- serious burns
Stories of Child Injuries
The sad fact is- many fireworks injuries are sustained by children. Stories below provided by CPSC:
- A 12 year-old, celebrating his team’s basketball championship, lost an eye when he and his friends set off fireworks. He now wears a glass eye.
- A 7 year-old boy lost half his left hand when he ignited an M-80 firework found hidden in a family bedroom. The M-80 exploded in the boy’s hand.
- An 8 year-old girl was badly burned on her leg when a sparkler ignited her dress.
- Three teenage boys shot a Roman Candle firework into a large wooded area. Fourteen acres burned before the fire was extinguished.
- Two boys, 8 and 10, were seriously burned on their arms when a bottle rocket exploded in their garage. The garage and a car were totally destroyed.
- An 8 year-old boy lost three fingers after igniting an M-80 firework on the kitchen stove. The victim was on his way outside when the device exploded in his hand.
- A 12 year-old girl in San Antonio, Texas was killed when a bottle rocket, set off by a 6 year-old neighbor, struck her in the head.
- A 17 year-old boy from Shawano, Wisconsin, was playing with a fireworks device that exploded – and killed him.
- An 8 year-old boy from Selmer, Tennessee was killed when he and his brother played with fireworks in their grandmother’s yard.
Accident Prevention Tips
Tips below provided by NCFS and CPSC:
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
- 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 point or throw fireworks at another person.
- 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.
- Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives.
- 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.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Thomas J. Henry is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, trucking accidents, maritime accidents, and other catastrophic accidents. Contact our offices day or night, 24/7.