Celebrations for the 4th of July bring more than just flags, parades, and potato salad. Festivities also often end in trips to the ER — all because of a homemade firework show gone terribly wrong. And a new set of data reveals an estimated 11,100 people received treatment for firework-related injuries in 2016. It’s likely most, if not all, were preventable.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report last month detailing firework-related deaths and injuries treated in emergency rooms across the country. Of the 11,100 reported injuries, 31% involved children under the age of 15. Children under the age of 5 had the second highest rate of injury. Young adults ages 20 to 24, though, suffered the greatest number of injuries.
The majority of firework-related accidents in 2016 involved misuse or malfunction. Cases of misuse mostly involved setting fireworks off improperly, often leading to hand, finger, ear, and face injuries. And burns made up 69% of the injuries treated in the ER.
So how can you have a safe holiday? The CPSC offers a list of firework safety tips to keep injuries at a minimum.
- Keep small children away from fireworks.
- All firework activities — even sparklers — should involve adult supervision.
- Don’t point or throw fireworks at other people.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose close by in case of fire.
- After lighting a fuse, immediately back up to a safe distance.
- Don’t try to re-light or pick up fireworks that haven’t gone off.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before purchase and use.
Following these tips while using sparklers, bottle rockets, firecrackers, and any other devices can prevent the majority of injuries relating to fireworks. It’s a great day to celebrate. Just do it safely, so you can spend the whole day having fun, and none of it getting treated for third-degree burns.