Don’t Get Burned: Fireworks Injuries by the Numbers

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

In the U.S., fireworks are synonymous with Independence day. Yet for all the fun of fireworks, they can also bring burns, blindness and even death.

Fireworks injuries

Last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued it’s annual report of deaths and injuries involving legal and illegal fireworks for 2012 [1]. Here are some highlights from the study:

  • In 2012, 60% of fireworks injuries occurred in the month surrounding July 4th
  • On average, 200 people went to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries
  • Hands and fingers are, not surprisingly, the most injured body part from fireworks
  • Adults 25-44 years of age were most likely to get hurt; men were almost 3x as likely to be injured as women

Follow-up investigations of incidents showed that most injuries were associated with malfunctioning fireworks, such as unexpected flight paths or dangerous debris, or improper use, such as lighting fireworks too close to someone or playing with lit or used fireworks.

The take-home message: if you’re playing with fireworks, you’re literally playing with fire.

If you choose to use legal consumer fireworks, follow these tips:

  1. Dress smart — no bare skin or loose clothing
  2. Never let children play with fireworks, including sparklers
  3. Always use fireworks away from buildings, overhead branches or trees, dry grass, or combustible fuels
  4. Be sure to keep a water hose or fire extinguisher close by

You can see the rest of the data from the CPSC report in the infographic below.

Infographic: Fireworks Injuries

Fireworks injuries

Via: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


  1. New CPSC Data Shows 60% of All Fireworks Injuries Occur Around July 4th; Firecrackers, Aerials, Homemade Explosives Cause Most Deaths, Injuries. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2013 Jun 26.
About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.