Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Fireworks: Facts & Tips to Stay Safe on Fourth of July

June 27, 2019

Did you know that in 2018, over 5000 people were injured by fireworks in the month around July 4th? The Consumer Protection Safety Council recently released their annual fireworks report and found that during 2018:

  • At least five fireworks-related deaths were reported
  • Over 9000 injuries due to fireworks were treated in hospital emergency departments 
    • Injuries were seen among users of firecrackers (~1000 injuries), sparklers (~500 injuries), and bottle rockets (200 injuries)
  • Nearly half of the injuries were in individuals younger than 20 years of age
  • The highest rate of injury was seen among children 10-14 years of age
  • Nearly half of injuries treated in emergency departments were burns

Both the National Safety Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends leaving fireworks to the professionals. Even sparklers, often handled by children, can burn at temperatures as high as 1000 degrees, and can cause burns and clothing fires. Bottle rockets can also cause head and eye injuries, especially if individuals aim that at each other.

For families who live in areas where fireworks are legal to use, here are some tips (adapted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Safety Council, and Consumer Product Safety Commission):

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Anyone else handling fireworks should wear protective eyewear.
  • Only ignite one firework at a time.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially metal or glass containers.
  • Caution children to never pick up a firework that has not ignited fully
  • A bucket or hose should be available and ready to extinguish fireworks. Unused fireworks should be soaked in water for a few hours before throwing them away.
  • Fireworks that are packaged in brown paper may be made for professional displays and should not be used by consumers.

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