An estimated 10,200 Americans were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in 2022, according to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The agency’s 2022 Fireworks Annual Report finds that injuries decreased from 2021, when 11,500 people in the U.S. were treated for fireworks injuries. That was a decrease from 2020, when fireworks injuries jumped to 15,600 at a time when many public fireworks shows were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic year, 10,000 injuries were reported.
The agency looked at the years 2007 through 2022 and found that despite decreases since 2020, the overall trend has been for fireworks injuries to increase — at an average rate of 535 injuries per year. In the years 2007 through 2012, annual injuries ranged from 7,000 to 9,800, never reaching 10,000; between 2013 and 2022, however, injuries have exceeded 10,000 in all but one year.
The report also finds that 11 fireworks-related deaths were reported in 2022. Five were associated with misuse of fireworks, three were associated with a device misfire or malfunction, and one was associated with a device tip-over. The circumstances of the other two deaths are unknown.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends enjoying fireworks at professional shows rather than at home. AAP advises watching fireworks shows at a safe distance — at least 500 feet away from the launch site — to avoid injuries and protect your child’s hearing. Fireworks and firecrackers can be as loud as 150 decibels, far louder than the 75 to 80 decibels considered safe.
AAP also advises against using sparklers. Although they do not explode, sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some metals. Contact with skin can cause third-degree burns. Sparks can also ignite clothing and cause eye injuries.
“Fireworks are best left to professionals,” said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson, a pediatrician. “The last place you want to be on July 4 is in the emergency room with an injured child.”