Study: More people need E.R. care after playing with fireworks

Jun 28, 2022, 6:14 PM | Updated: 8:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission may throw a wet blanket on your 4th of July plans – or at least make you think about bringing a wet blanket with you just in case your family’s celebration adds to a troubling trend.

More and more Americans are sent to the emergency room after playing with fireworks. 

Most are men. Many are children. Most have burns. Many from sparklers.

In rarer situations, people are killed. The CPSC said last year, at least nine Americans died after playing with fireworks.

Six deaths were associated with fireworks misuse, one death was associated with a mortar launch malfunction, and two incidents were associated with unknown circumstances.

 “It’s imperative that consumers know the risks involved in using fireworks, so injuries and tragedies can be prevented,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays.”

At its current trend, the CPSC estimates an increase of 274 fireworks injuries per year with 74% of E.R. visits happening on or around the 4th of July.

2021 Fireworks Annual Report by Cary Schwanitz


Of the 8,500 estimated fireworks-related injuries sustained, 59% were males and 41% were females. 

Adults 25 to 44 years of age experienced about 32% of the estimated injuries, and children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 29% of the estimated injuries. Seniors 65 and older experienced a smaller percent of the estimated injuries at 4%. 

Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of fireworks injuries that needed E.R. care (5.1 injuries per 100,000 people). Children, 5 to 9 years of age, had the second-highest estimated rate (4.5 injuries per 100,000 people). A general decrease is noted comparing the 2021 rates to the 2020 rates, except for children 5 to 14 years of age, which saw an increase from 3.3 injuries to 4.2 injuries per 100,000 people. 

The study estimated 1,500 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers and 1,100 with sparklers. 

The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (31%); head, face, and ears (21%); legs (15%); eyes (14%); trunk/other regions (10%); and arms (8%).

Gov. Cox, officials ask all to prevent wildfires during holiday fireworks season

An estimated 32% of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands and fingers. Contusions and lacerations accounted for 21% of the emergency department-treated injuries, including the most common injury to the head, face, and ears.

Approximately 83% of the victims were treated at a hospital emergency department and then released. An estimated 15% of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital or admitted to the hospital.


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Study: More people need E.R. care after playing with fireworks