Fireworks Safety Update for This 4th of July (With Infographic)

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July 2, 2018

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Families and friends gathering for the Fourth of July holiday can take “simple safety steps” when celebrating the nation’s birthday with fireworks, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which tracks fireworks-related injuries.

There were an estimated 12,900 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2017, the CPSC says in its new report released just before this year’s Fourth of July festivities. Eight fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2017, with victims ranging in age from 4 to 57.

“We want to make sure everyone takes simple safety steps to celebrate safely with their family and friends,” said Ann Marie Buerkle, CPSC acting chairman. We work with the fireworks industry, monitor incoming fireworks shipments at the ports and enforce federal fireworks safety regulations, so that all Americans have a safe Fourth of July.”

About 67 percent of the estimated annual fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries for 2017 occurred during the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday.

Kids and young adults often become victims from mishandling fireworks (see infographic below for safety tips). Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36 percent of the estimated 2017 injuries, the CPSC says. Fifty percent of the estimated fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age, the report said.

The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 31 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 22 percent); legs (an estimated 17 percent); eyes (an estimated 14 percent); and arms (an estimated 6 percent), the CPSC found. Fifty-three percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns, most commonly affecting the hands, fingers and arms.

“Even the most benign fireworks can potentially cause severe burns,” said Ricardo Castrellon, M.D., medical director of the Burn Center at South Miami Hospital. “Seek emergency care right away for any large blisters that form and for blistering burns to the face, hands, feet, genital area or on top of joints.”

Important fireworks safety tips are included in the infographic below. Infographic by Alexis Hartog

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