The potential dangers of Fourth of July fireworks are well known, yet every year, there are hundreds of injuries. A study by the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that “65 percent of all firework injuries in 2011 were sustained during the 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday.” An estimated 9,600 consumers were injured last year and four were killed. Who’s to blame?
These injuries were caused mostly by incorrect use of the devices or unexpected ignition. This includes both professional and homemade devices. Even fireworks as simple and common as sparklers were found to be one of the top devices that caused injuries. This is due to the fact that sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
According to the CPSC study, the most common types of injuries were burns to hands and head. How can fireworks injuries be prevented? Here are some safety tips:
- Never use illegal or homemade fireworks
- Monitor children closely when using sparklers
- Have a bucket of water or hose nearby in case of an emergency
- Soak used fireworks in water before throwing them away to prevent fires
- Light fireworks one at a time and back up immediately
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers
When using any firework it is important to keep in mind that no matter how many times you’ve used them before, you are literally playing with fire. The study found that 40 percent of injuries occurred to individuals ages 25 to 44. The most injured body parts are hands and fingers (46%), eyes (17%), and heads, faces, and ears (17%). These numbers can easily change by adhering to firework safety precautions. Please keep these tips handy and have a safe Fourth of July holiday.