Which fireworks cause the most injuries?

Tips on how to stay out of the emergency room

Fireworks around July Fourth result in thousands of trips to hospital emergency departments. Last year, a man even died in Henderson, Kentucky, after bending over to light a firework.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 12,000 people were treated for fireworks injuries last year, including more than 250 per day in the weeks leading up to and after the July Fourth holiday. More than one-third of thse injuries involve children.

Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness

Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness takes an active leadership role in teaching healthy habits to children and families, including injury prevention and healthy lifestyle choices. Advocacy and outreach educational programs are at the heart of the Norton Children’s mission.

“Norton Children’s Hospital treats dozens of kids for fireworks injuries on the days surrounding the fourth — mostly severe burns,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., manager, Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness. “About half of these kids are handling fireworks, while the others are bystanders.”

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Which fireworks cause the most injuries? Here’s the top five according to the CPSC:

  1. Firecrackers (17 percent of all reported injuries)
  2. Reloadable shells (14 percent)
  3. Sparklers (12 percent)
  4. Roman candles (7 percent)
  5. Bottle rockets (5 percent)

Rengers said sparklers and jumping jack types cause the most injuries in young children seen at Norton Children’s facilities.

“Kids are fascinated with the bright colors and the spark itself, which can get as hot as 1,800 degrees,” she said. “You wouldn’t hand a baby a lit match. A firework isn’t that much different.”

What’s the easy way to avoid injuries this July Fourth? Rengers recommends following these fireworks safety guidelines:

  • Only adults should handle fireworks and should wear safety glasses.
  • Read labels carefully and follow all directions.
  • All spectators should be out of range before lighting the firework. Depending on the action of the firework, standing 20 to 100 yards away is recommended.
  • Discuss safety procedures with children. Teach them to “stop, drop and roll” in the event their clothes catch fire.
  • Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never use fireworks indoors.
  • Do not hold fireworks to light them. Place them on the ground.
  • Never try to reignite fireworks that fail to go off.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.