The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that
8,800 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 2002, and
children are the most likely victims.
“We see a large number of preventable injuries during this time of
the year,” said Cynthia Cross Thomas, pediatrician at Baptist Memorial
Hospital-Memphis’ pediatric emergency department. “Many of these
injuries, especially those associated with children, are the result of
improper firework use.”
A recent report prepared by CPSC analyzed injury data collected over a
seven-year period and concluded that a majority of the injuries from
the consumer or family-type fireworks involved misuse rather than
“Injury from fireworks can be very serious and sometimes even fatal,”
said Cross Thomas. “Injuries of the hands, fingers, eyes, face, legs,
arms, feet and back are common. These injuries can include burns,
lacerations, abrasions, punctures, fractures and contusions, but the
most common and most underestimated injury is the burn. Gunpowder
residue, cardboard fibers and ash are often tattooed into the burned
area, which makes these injuries likely candidates for surgical
However, with the enactment of rigid safety standards for consumer
fireworks and with proper precautions, a safe, enjoyable outdoor
fireworks display is possible.
To help ensure a safe celebration this Fourth of July, the Consumer
Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety
offer the following safety tips:
- Always read and follow label directions.
- Have an adult present at all times.
- Buy from reliable sellers.
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).
- Never experiment or make homemade fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
- Never give fireworks to small children.
- If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
- Stay away from illegal explosives.
For more information on firework safety, please visit www.batptistonline.org.