Summer Injury Prevention: Firework Accidents
With the Fourth of July holiday in the rearview mirror, the stories about injuries and deaths caused by fireworks serve as a reminder of how quickly a day of celebration can turn into a tragedy. A glance at the headlines shows the needless loss of life that the fireworks can cause. Whether it’s a professional demonstration or an itty bitty sparkler, it’s so crucial to remember that these are dangerous explosives that can behave in unexpected ways.
Firework Accident Statistics
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports the following firework accident statistics for 2012:
- In 2012, approximately 8,700 injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms; about 5,200 of those injuries occurred in the month-long period between June 22 and July 22.
- About 30 percent of those injuries were sustained by children under the age of 15.
- Sparklers were associated with about 600 emergency room injuries.
- The most common type of injuries treated were burn injuries.
- The most commonly injured body parts were: hands and fingers (41%); head, face, and ears (19%); legs (13%); and eyes (12%).
- At least six nonoccupational deaths associated with fireworks were reported to the CPSC in 2012, although the agency notes that number is likely incomplete.
Firework Safety Tips
When it comes to your loved ones, why take unnecessary risks? The following tips are provided by SafeKids Worldwide to help prevent these unfortunate accidents:
- Whenever possible, attend professional firework displays rather than set off your own.
- Only use fireworks in areas that are legally allowed.
- Sparklers can burn at more than 1,000 degrees. Small children should not be allowed to use these products as their arms are simply too short to safely hold a sparkler.
- Don’t wear loose clothing when lighting fireworks.
- Don’t light fireworks indoors or near dry grass/brush.
- Point fireworks away from people, homes, and animals.
- Always be prepared for an accident. Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby.
- If a firework does not ignite properly, do not relight it or stand over it to investigate. Put it out with water and dispose of it.