D.C. Demonstration Shows Fireworks Hazards
Alex Wong  /  Getty Images File
Legal fireworks are on display in Washington June 26 during a demonstration showing the possible dangers caused by the explosives.
updated 6/30/2004 1:43:33 PM ET 2004-06-30T17:43:33

Hospital emergency room visits for fireworks-related injuries dipped by one-quarter in the past decade, but rose slightly from 2002 to 2003, federal regulators said Wednesday as they urged Americans to safely celebrate the Fourth of July.

Fireworks accidents resulted in some 9,300 emergency room visits last year, including about 6,800 in the month surrounding Independence Day, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

Though that’s a slight jump from the 8,800 injuries reported in 2002, emergency room visits have generally gone down since reaching highs of 12,500 in 1992 and 1994.

Males suffer majority of injuries
CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton attributed the decline to better enforcement against illegal fireworks, more consumer safety awareness and improvements by some manufacturers.

“The best thing parents can do to keep their families safe this Fourth of July is to understand the basic safety tips for fireworks, including never trying to re-light a 'dud' and using only legal, consumer fireworks,” Stratton said.

Males suffered about 72 percent of all injuries and children under 15 accounted for almost half, the report said.

The commission noted six deaths related to fireworks last year, though it listed separately the fire in a Rhode Island nightclub that killed 100 people and was blamed on indoor pyrotechnics.

The government distributed these safety tips:

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in the area before buying or using.
  • Adults should always supervise.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never allow young children to ignite fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one item at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them in metal or glass containers.

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