June is Fireworks Safety Month
Given that June is National Fireworks Safety Month and many are looking forward to a July 4th break and the ensuing fireworks displays, now’s a good time to discuss the many dangers the flashy products can present. Though there are many kinds of fireworks which are legal to possess, this does not mean they are risk free. According to one study by the U.S. Fire Administration, at least 92% of all fireworks-related injuries each year are caused by legally purchased fireworks.
Those at most risk for injury are, not surprisingly, young children. Children under age 15 are at the highest risk for fireworks injuries. Their love of the bright lights attracts them but they are often too young to understand they danger they present. Even seemingly safe hand-held fireworks can cause serious arm as some sparklers can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit while burning, hot enough to melt copper. For children under the age of five, sparklers accounted for the largest number of estimated injuries, 36 percent of the total injuries in that age group.
During the 30 days surrounding July 4, fireworks sent about 1,900 injured consumers to emergency rooms. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s statistics show that in 2010 about 8,600 consumers ended up in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries involving legal and illegal fireworks. In 2011, 9,600 people were treated in emergency departments for firework-related injuries, an increase of 1,000 injuries in only one year. The CPSC’s annual death and injury report on fireworks also indicates that approximately 40% of estimated injuries occurred to children younger than 15 years of age. In addition, CPSC received reports of three fatalities related to fireworks.
The part of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (estimated
2,900 injuries), eyes (1,100 injuries), head, face, and ears (1,100 injuries),
and legs (700 injuries). The products that cause the most harm include
sparklers (1,100), firecrackers (800), and bottle rockets (300). The major
causes of injuries are due to delayed or early fireworks explosions, bottle
rockets that go off course, falling debris from exploding fireworks and
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following tips to ensure you and your family stay safe this holiday season:
• Never permit young children to play with or light fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are in brown paper which is a sign that they were designed for professional displays and could present special danger to your family.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Once a device has been lit, make sure to back up a safe distance.
• Never try to re-light or look at fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point fireworks at another person.
• After fireworks have been lit and exploded, pour plenty of water on them before throwing away to prevent a possible trash fire.
Source: “Dangers of back yard fireworks: Safety tips,” by Kim Wendel, published at WKYC.com.
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