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FRIDAY, July 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Fourth of July celebrations often include festive picnics and dazzling fireworks, but these holiday pyrotechnics are causing a growing number of injuries and deaths.
In the United States, injuries and deaths related to fireworks have increased by about 25% over the past 15 years, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. reports.
Last year alone, nine people died in incidents involving fireworks while 11,500 were injured.
“It is imperative that consumers know the risks associated with the use of fireworks, in order to prevent injuries and tragedies. The safest way to enjoy the fireworks is to watch the professional presentations,” said CPSC President Alex Hoehn-Saric. In addition, he said, “CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations continues to work closely with other federal agencies to prevent the sale of illegal consumer fireworks.”
Six of those nine fireworks-related deaths were associated with misuse of fireworks, the CPSC said. One fatality was associated with mortar launch malfunction. In two incidents, the circumstances were unknown.
According to the safety commission report:
Injuries fell last year compared to 2020, when they reached 15,600, as many public fireworks have been canceled due to COVID-19.
Three-quarters of the estimated total number of fireworks-related injuries in 2021 occurred between June 18 and July 18 – the peak time for sparklers, firecrackers and the like.
The age group with the most injuries was young adults between the ages of 20 and 24, the CSPC reported.
About 1,500 of the emergency room visits were for injuries from firecrackers and another 1,100 for sparklers. About a third of the injuries were burns. Hands, fingers, head, face and ears were the most injured body parts.
The devices were also less safe than expected, with 31% of those selected and tested containing non-compliant components, including fuse violations, the presence of banned chemicals and an overload of pyrotechnic materials.
While the safest way to celebrate is to watch a professional fireworks display, the CSPC offered some additional advice:
- Never let young children play with or light fireworks, including sparklers hot enough to burn some metals.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other accident.
- Light the fireworks one at a time, moving away quickly, never placing any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the wick, the CSPC said. .
- Do not handle or attempt to relight faulty fireworks. Soak them in water and throw them away. Also extinguish used fireworks before throwing them away.
- Never point or throw fireworks, including sparklers, at anyone.
- Do not use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Only buy and light fireworks that are labeled for consumer use and legal in your area.
The US-based National Safety Council also offers fireworks safety tips.
SOURCE: US Consumer Product Safety Commission, press release, June 28
By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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