Many Americans will celebrate the July 4th Independence Day holiday with fireworks. However, amateur or home recreation fireworks displays represent a great risk for death and injury. According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, two individuals died and another 8,800 required emergency medical treatment from fireworks-related injuries in 2009. Over two-thirds of these cases occurred between June 19 and July 19. Fifty-four percent of those injured were under the age of 20 and 73 percent were males.
Fireworks can cause burns, bruises, lacerations, blindness, damaged limbs, and contribute to life-threatening fires. Firecrackers, sparklers and rockets are associated with most frequently with injuries. The most common reasons for injuries are errant flight paths of fireworks, use of homemade fireworks, mischief and tip-over of fireworks devices. Even though the majority of fireworks injuries come from “consumer” or family-type fireworks, the National Council on Fireworks Safety reports that 30-33 percent of fireworks injuries over the past 10 years were caused by illegal or homemade explosives.
The safest way to ensure that your holiday weekend is accident- and injury-free is to avoid using fireworks at home. Enjoy community fireworks displays by professionals and spend your extra time in the company of family and friends.
Every Monday, the Johns Hopkins Healthy Monday Project, part of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, offers tips for preventing disease and injury, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Check back each week for new tips or visit our archive.