Fourth of July fireworks send thousands of Americans to the ER each year

Fireworks safety for Independence Day

Phantom Fireworks’ Chris Beeler shares tips to stay safe.

Before you fire off a bunch of bottle rockets this July Fourth, spare a thought for your fingers, toes and other extremities. Injuries from fireworks send thousands of Americans to the emergency room around this time of year, new data shows.

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; and of these, about 5,600 occurred in the one-month period around July Fourth (from June 22 to July 22). That's about 190 injuries per day around July Fourth.

In addition, at least five people died from fireworks-related injuries in 2018, and four of these deaths occurred during the week of July Fourth, the CSPC said. [The Weirdest Fireworks Injuries Ever]

The CSPC also warned against letting children use fireworks: Overall, the highest rate of fireworks-related injuries occurred among children ages 10 to 14 years old.

"Don't make the emergency room part of your holiday; don't let children play with fireworks."," Dr. Sarah Combs, an emergency room doctor from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. About 44 percent of overall injuries were burns, most commonly to the hands, fingers and arms, the CPSC said.

The agency has received a total of 121 reports of fireworks-related deaths from 2003 to 2018.

To prevent injuries and deaths related to fireworks, the CSPC recommends the following:

-Make sure consumer fireworks are legal in your area before buying them.

-Never use professional-grade fireworks.

-Don't buy fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, as this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays.

-Never let young children play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.

-Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

-Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

-Keep a bucket of water close by in case of fire.

-When fireworks have completed burning, douse the product with water from a bucket or hose before discarding.

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Originally published on Live Science.

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