Blog post by: Intermountain Healthcare Truama Group
As the summer months approach we look forward to the holiday festivities of July. Kids especially love to see the spectacular firework displays associated with these holidays and to have their own private displays at home.
In 2011, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff conducted a study of fireworks injuries; here is what they found:
- 200 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
- 65% of these fireworks injuries in 2011 occurred during the month surrounding July 4th.
- Illegal and homemade fireworks were involved in all 4 fireworks-related deaths reported to CPSC in 2011
Approximately 50% of the fireworks- related injuries were burns, and most of the burns involved the hands, eyes and head. Nearly one-half of the victims were adults and one-fourth of the victims under 15 years of age. The bulk of these injuries were directly related to firecrackers, rockets and sparklers. Males were most frequently injured from firecrackers, sparklers, bottle rockets, novelty devices, Roman candles, and reloadable shells.
Here are some tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission on how to handle fireworks safely:
Fireworks Safety Tips
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers, which are considered by many as the “safe” firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily, ignite clothing. (Sparklers are the primary source of injury for children under five).
- Older children should only use fireworks under adult supervision. Do not allow running or horseplay.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying our using them.
- Be sure other people are out of the area before lighting fireworks.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials like gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
DO YOU KNOW FIREWORK SAFETY?
Take the test and find out!
True or False
- Fireworks injuries can only occur during the fourth of July
- Sparklers are safe fireworks and can be given to children.
- Gunpowder is a major ingredient in most types of fireworks.
- Only people who are careless and unsupervised are injured from fireworks.
- Only people who set off fireworks risk injuries.
- Males are more likely to get hurt from fireworks.
- Homemade fireworks are safer than store bought fireworks.
- Using fireworks is an expensive way to celebrate the Fourth of July.
- Bottle rockets are not dangerous because they are just firecrackers tied to a stick.
ANSWER QUESTION #1
FALSE - While most fireworks injuries do occur during July, many injuries also happen during Labor Day, New Year’s Eve and Christmas.
ANSWER QUESTION #2
FALSE - Sparklers are the second highest cause of firework injuries that require hospitalization. Most of these injuries occur among pre-school aged children. Sparklers are dangerous because they burn at a temperature hot enough to melt gold (1,800 degrees F!)
ANSWER QUESTION #3
TRUE - Most fireworks contain gunpowder which causes these devices to explode. Class C Fireworks (e.g. firecrackers) are legal in many states and contain up to 50mg. of gunpowder. Anything higher and fireworks may be compared to an explosive bomb.
ANSWER QUESTION #4
FALSE - Because fireworks are unpredictable, injuries can occur even if the person is careful or under supervision. The best way to avoid injury is not to use fireworks.
ANSWER QUESTION #5
FALSE - When it comes to fireworks, no one is safe! The prevent blindness organization estimates that nearly 40% of firework injuries are to bystanders.
ANSWER QUESTION #6
TRUE- Men and boys are the most frequent users of fireworks. That’s why four out of every five fireworks injuries happen to males. Men between the ages of 22-24 and boys ages 12-14 are the most common victims.
ANSWER QUESTION #7
FALSE - Homemade fireworks are often more hazardous. Those who make their own fireworks tend to combine the chemicals from other devices to create a bigger-more dangerous-explosion.
ANSWER QUESTION #8
FALSE - The cost of treating a fireworks injury far outweighs the cost of a single firework’s package, which is $2.00. The average hospital emergency room charges approximately $80 or more for one visit. This price does not include the cost families must pay for possible permanent injury, physical therapy, or blindness.
ANSWER QUESTION #9
FALSE - Bottle rockets are among the most dangerous fireworks available today. They account for the majority of all firework injuries that lead to permanent eye damage. Bottle rockets can move as fast as 200 miles per hour, explode in midair, and fly in any direction.