Summer means picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks displays, especially around the 4th of July. Summer also means an increase in injuries from backyard grills, bonfires and fireworks. If you’re going to enjoy a celebration this summer, it’s important to follow a few fireworks safety tips.
Even before lighting a single match, it’s critical to make sure you’re using fireworks safely. According to the latest data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved with an estimated 15,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2020 (95 percent confidence interval 12,300 – 19,000). The estimated rate of emergency department-treated injuries is 4.7 per 100,000 individuals in the United States, an increase from 3.1 estimated injuries per 100,000 individuals in 2019.
Using fireworks safely is paramount when children are involved. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 35 percent of the estimated 2014 injuries. Further, children 5 to 9 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated fireworks-related injuries (5.2 injuries per 100,000 people). There were an estimated 1,400 injuries associated with sparklers, 1,400 associated with firecrackers and 100 with bottle rockets. Of the injuries associated with firecrackers, an estimated 26 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 28 percent with illegal firecrackers and 46 percent with firecrackers for which there was no specific information.
The National Safety Council advises that the best way to practice fireworks safety is to watch a public fireworks display conducted by professionals. However, if fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them, be sure you know you are using fireworks safely:
- Use outdoors only.
- Obey local fireworks safety laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them!
- Always have both a garden hose and a bucket nearby.
- Only use fireworks safely as they are intended, don’t try to change or combine them.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in water.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking in water, then disposing in trash.
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
- Use fireworks safely by using common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance.
- Shooter should avoid drinking alcohol and wear safety glasses.
- Only kids over age 12 should handle sparklers of any type.
- Never use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives.
For more fireworks safety tips, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission.