The Dangers of Fireworks

Dangers of Fireworks

Large, public displays of fireworks are beautiful and fun to watch; however, they can be dangerous at the home level if not handled properly and safely.

An estimated 9,125 fireworks injuries occur each year. Click To Tweet

Some Facts About Fireworks

  • In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks-related injuries. 51% of those were to the extremities and 41% to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for one-quarter of the estimated 2015 injuries. Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2015 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu.
  • According to the CPSC, more than one-third of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20-July 20m 2014 were under 15; 9% were under five.
  • CPSC data show that sparklers alone accounted for more than one-quarter of the emergency room fireworks injuries seen from June 20-July 20, 2014.

An estimated 9,125 fireworks injuries occur each year with an average of four deaths per year.

Injuries from Fireworks

Many fireworks injuries involve the hands, head, eyes, arms and legs.

Hands tend to be the most injured body part since many fireworks are typically held. Fireworks can result not just in severe burns, but when it explodes while in the hand, it can tear the hand apart or cause severe damage to the muscles, impairing future use. One or more fingers can be lost, too.

  • More than one-third of the fireworks injuries in 2014 were to hands or fingers.
  • One in five were eye injuries.
  • An additional 19% were to other parts of the head.

Fireworks Infographic from National Fire Protection Association.

Other types of injuries include:

  • Severe burns
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of vision
  • Fractures
  • Dismemberment
  • Accidental death

Causes of Fireworks Accidents

FireworksMost injuries caused by fireworks are the result of misuse, for instance, lighting the fireworks improperly, lighting them too close to others or lighting them while holding them in your hand.

Improper use can injure not just the person handling the fireworks, but also bystanders. Fireworks, such as bottle rockets, can injure onlookers by taking unpredictable paths.

Another potential danger is a firework that has been ignited and failed to explode. These should be handled carefully because they could still be active and explode.

Sparklers are used a lot by young children because we assume they are safer; however, they can be more dangerous than you realize. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals and the sparks can catch clothes on fire or cause burns to the skin, especially sparks falling on feet.

  • Sparklers alone accounted for more than one-quarter of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2014.
  • Only 6% of fireworks injuries were caused by public displays.

While it doesn’t happen as often, fireworks can malfunction due to a manufacturing or design defect.

  • A manufacturing defect might cause a firework to explode too soon, before a person has the chance to get a safe distance away.
  • Defective fuses might light the powders in a way not intended by the manufacturer.

The best way to enjoy fireworks on 4th of July (or any time) is by watching a public display, letting trained professional handle the fireworks under controlled settings and regulations.

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