It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 9,100 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2018. For that same year, the CPSC reported at least five fireworks-related deaths, with victims ranging in age from 16 to 49.
To help make sure you stay safe when handling or watching fireworks, Laura Pond, trauma program manager at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, has some advice.
First, and this should be a no-brainer but it’s worth noting: those handling fireworks should be sober adults.
“That’s one thing that I really want to highlight,” Pond said. “Thankfully we don't see a lot of fireworks injuries here at our trauma center, but when we do, it's always because of alcohol.
“Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.”
Other advice Pond shared: Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them, follow the directions, wear protective eyewear when lighting them, and don’t carry them in your pockets.
“Sometimes people will put them in their pockets while they're lighting other fireworks and all it takes is a simple spark to set off the firework that's in their pocket,” Pond said.
Also be sure to have a bucket of water or hose on hand when lighting them in case of a fire starting.
Pond said common injuries she's seen caused by fireworks are hand burns and face burns.
“Sometimes it’s kids holding sparklers and they grab the top of the sparklers," she said.
According to the CPSC, about 62 percent of the estimated annual fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries for 2018 occurred during the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday (June 22-July 22). During that period, firecrackers were the number one cause of injuries, accounting for 19 percent of the estimated injuries.
Here are some additional safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
- Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper, which often means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumers.
- Make sure you, your kids, and others watch fireworks displays from a safe distance.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.