CPSC Issues 2012 Annual Report of Fireworks-Related Injuries

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued its annual report of deaths and injuries involving fireworks for the calendar year 2012. Injuries caused by fireworks include severe eye injuries, loss of limbs and even death.

Last year, CPSC reports the deaths of six men killed by firework devices. An estimated 8,700 consumers were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries.

In the days leading up to and after the July 4th holiday (June 22, 2012 and July 22, 2012) more than 5,000 consumers were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. About 1,000 injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets (frequently and incorrectly considered safe for young children).

Here are a few safety tips recommended by the CPSC for consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks.

  • Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees ─ hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
  • ATF encourages the public to report the manufacture or sale of illegal fireworks to your local law enforcement agencies or to the ATF hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).