The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning ahead of the Independence Day weekend, saying that firework-related injuries have increased in recent years.
From 2006-2021, injuries from fireworks increased by 25%. In 2021, fireworks caused 11,500 injuries. There were nine firework-related fatalities in 2021, the CPSC noted.
The CPSC said firecrackers caused 1,500 emergency department visits while sparklers brought 1,100 patients to the ER last year. Burns accounted for 32% of the injuries.
“It’s imperative that consumers know the risks involved in using fireworks, so injuries and tragedies can be prevented. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations continues to work closely with other federal agencies to prevent the sale of illegal consumer fireworks.”
The commission said six of last year’s fatalities were associated with firework misuse, one death was associated with a mortar launch malfunction, and two incidents were for unknown circumstances.
Nearly three-quarters of firework-related injuries occurred weeks before and after July 4.
The CSPC offered the following guidance:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
- After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
- Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.