Injuries from fireworks send thousands of Americans to emergency room around this time of year. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 9,100 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2018. Of these injuries, about 5,600 occurred in the one-month period around July 4 (from June 22 to July 22). That amounts to about 190 injuries per day just around Independence Day.
Dangerous and Deadly
Also, five people died from fireworks-related injuries last year and four of those fatalities occurred during the week of July 4, the CPSC said. The agency also warned against allowing children to set off fireworks. The highest rate of fireworks-related injuries occurred among children 10 to 14 years of age. About 44 percent of overall injuries were burns, most commonly to the hands, fingers and arms, the CPSC stated.
Firecrackers were the number one cause of people’s fireworks-related injuries, accounting for nearly 20 percent of injuries. Sparklers were a major cause of injuries for young children, accounting for more than half of all injuries in children under 5. The CPSC warned that while sparklers may seem harmless, they burn at high temperatures where children can sustain a third-degree burn within two or three seconds.
Among the five deaths that occurred in 2018 relating to fireworks, all involved the use of reloadable aerial fireworks. In one case, an 18-year-old man in Iowa launched mortar shells from a tube taped to a helmet on his head. One of the ignited shells got stuck in the tube and exploded on top of the victim’s head. The man was hospitalized, but died the following day from his injuries. CPSC officials reported that they received 121 reports of fatal fireworks accidents from 2003 to 2018.
How Can You Prevent These Tragedies?
Fireworks accidents are preventable when you exercise care and caution especially around the Fourth of July when these accidents are more prevalent. First and foremost, before you purchase fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area. Never use professional-grade fireworks. They are not meant for home use. Do not allow children to play with or ignite fireworks including sparklers. Do not try to relight or handle fireworks that malfunction. Keep a garden hose or bucket of water close by in case you need to put out a fire. When fireworks have burned out fully, douse the product with water or hose before discarding them in the trash.
If you or a loved one has been injured by fireworks, particularly due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, and pain and suffering.
Our California personal injury lawyers wish you and yours a safe and Happy Fourth of July!