Fireworks Injuries, Deaths Expected to Spike Around July 4th Holiday

Nearly 9,000 people were injured or killed by fireworks last year, with the majority of problems occurring during the weeks surrounding the July 4th holiday, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

An annual Fireworks report released this week by the safety regulatory agency highlights the number of injuries and deaths involving legal and illegal fireworks throughout 2012.

The U.S. CPSC compiles the report to highlight the dangers of fireworks, help enforce safety standards and to raise awareness about the risk of problems that can occur when consumers don’t heed safety warnings.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

As we head into the July 4th holiday week, the number of firework injuries and deaths are expected to increase dramatically, as nearly 60% of all incidents last year occurred during the 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday, from June 22 through July 22.

During that month more than 5,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms throughout the United States. More than half of the injuries reported involved burns to the hands, head and face.

Approximately 1,000 injuries involved sparklers, a product often perceived as seemingly safe for children. Many people are unaware sparkler’s burn at temperatures of 2,000 degrees, a temperature hot enough to melt some metals.

“These figures represent more than numbers; they represent the lives of real people who have been affected well beyond the Fourth of July” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “The federal government is working hard to keep the public safe by monitoring the ports, the marketplace, and the transportation of fireworks. Now, we need consumers to do their part and celebrate safely.”

Risk of Fatal Injuries from Fireworks

Last year, at least six men were killed by professional-grade, homemade or banned fireworks last year. One young boy lost his life after a “sparkler bomb” exploded when about taping 300 sparklers were taped together. The majority of the injuries occur when fireworks are used improperly or they malfunction.

Oftentimes, the fireworks will fly in unexpected directions. Many injuries stem from lighting fireworks too closely to another person, consumers playing with lit fireworks or lighting fireworks in a person’s hand.

Two hundred people are treated in hospital emergency rooms each day around the July 4 holiday. The fireworks-related injuries often involve severe eye injury, loss of limbs and even death.

The CPSC worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireworks, and Explosives, Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice to compile the report and help keep consumers safe year round.

The CPSC collects and tests shipments of fireworks, with approximately 30 percent of the fireworks tested found to violate U.S. law and immediately stopped at the port from reaching consumers.

Officials warn consumers to celebrate safely and to opt for professional fireworks shows instead of home displays, which can often go wrong. They also urge consumers to obey fireworks laws and closely supervise children when using fireworks.

To ensure consumers have a safe July 4 celebration, the CPSC reminds consumers to make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying them, don’t let young kids light them, have an adult supervise at all times, keep water nearby, do not point or throw fireworks at other people and make sure to douse fireworks and debris with water before discarding.

Photo Courtesy of Patrick Mackin via Flickr/Creative Commons


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.