Firework Injuries Really Hurt

Fireworks may cause serious injuries

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Fourth of July fireworks may be a highlight of the holiday, but caution is urged to avoid unnecessary injuries. On July 4th, more fires are reported than any other day of the year, and in many cases fireworks are responsible.

Children between the ages of 5 and 14 are at the highest risk of firework injuries, a risk that is double that of the general population.

"Use caution if staging your own fireworks display."

The United States Fire Administrator, Ernest Mitchell, noted that thousands are injured each year around the Fourth of July using fireworks. Many of those injured are children or teenagers.

“Despite the well-known dangers of fireworks, few people understand that misuse of both legal and illegal fireworks can result in devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death,” he said.

The National Fire Protection Association reported about 15,500 fires in 2010. That included 1,100 structure fires and 300 car fires.

U.S. hospitals also treated about 8,000 firework-related injuries that same year. In 2011, four people died as a result of fireworks.

Mitchell suggested that individuals attend a public fireworks display instead of staging a backyard display. However the following safety tips may help those lighting their own fireworks:

  • Ensure fireworks are legal in your area first.
  • Don't let children light fireworks.
  • Supervise older children using fireworks.
  • Avoid fireworks packaged in brown paper, which could be dangerous.
  • Never allow part of your body directly over fireworks when lighting.
  • Back up to a safe distance after lighting fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Douse used fireworks with water before discarding.
  • Keep a garden hose or bucket of water near by just in case.
  • Don't re-light nonfunctioning fireworks.
  • Soak dud fireworks in water and throw them away.
  • Don't point fireworks at another person.
  • Don't carry fireworks in a pocket
  • Avoid shooting fireworks from metal or glass containers.
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 3, 2012
Last Updated:
July 3, 2012