Given that June is National Fireworks Safety Month now’s a good time to take a minute and discuss some of the danger associated with the bright lights seen by many at July 4th displays. Though there are many varieties of fireworks which can be purchased legally, this doesn’t mean they are risk free. According to one study by the U.S. Fire Administration, at least 92% of all fireworks-related injuries each year are caused by such legally purchased fireworks.
Those at most risk for injury are, perhaps unsurprisingly, young children. Children under the age of 15 are at the highest risk for fireworks-related injuries. Their love of the bright lights and loud noises attracts them but they are often too young to understand they danger they represent. Even seemingly safe hand-held fireworks can cause serious harm as some sparklers can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt copper. For children under the age of five, sparklers accounted for the largest number of estimated injuries, 36 percent of the total injuries in that age group.
During the 30 days surrounding July 4 last year, fireworks sent about 1,900 injured consumers to emergency rooms. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s statistics show that in 2010 about 8,600 consumers ended up in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries involving fireworks. In 2011, 9,600 people were treated in emergency departments for similar injuries, an increase of 1,000 injuries in just one year. The CPSC’s annual death and injury report on fireworks, reports of three fatalities related to fireworks were received last year.
The part of the body most often injured are hands and fingers (estimated 2,900 injuries), eyes (1,100 injuries), head, face, and ears (1,100 injuries), and legs (700 injuries). The products that cause the most harm include sparklers (1,100), firecrackers (800), and bottle rockets (300). The major causes of injuries are due to delayed or early fireworks explosions, bottle rockets that go off course, falling debris from exploding fireworks and mishandling sparklers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following tips to ensure you and your family stay safe this holiday season:
• Never permit young children to play with or light fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are covered in brown paper, a sign that they were designed for professional displays and could present special danger to your family.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Once a device has been lit, make sure to back up a safe distance.
• Never try to re-light or look at fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point fireworks at another person.
• After fireworks have been lit and exploded, pour plenty of water on them before throwing away to prevent a possible trash fire.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
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