4th of July Firework Hand Injuries

Firework hand injury
Firework hand injury

Firework Hand Injuries

It’s almost the 4th of July, which means barbeques, picnics, time with family and friends, and fireworks. For many of us, fireworks have been part of our family traditions over the years. What most people don’t think about, however, is the possibility of getting hurt that day.

One of the biggest injuries happens because of fireworks. Injuries to the hand, thumb, or fingers are especially high due to fireworks mishaps. Often, these injuries occur when small children are allowed to handle sparklers and firecrackers.  

Fireworks are for Sale. But are they Safe?

Because fireworks are so readily available in Louisiana, we assume they are safe. However, a lack of regulations and safety precautions makes them a leading cause of injuries during the Independence Day holiday.

While fireworks may be a tradition, it only takes a second for a mishandled firework to alter the future, especially for little ones. However, learning more about fireworks and how to stay safe can mean fewer injuries and more fun on holidays like this one.

In order to make your 4th of July fun and safe, my post today will highlight some facts about fireworks and suggestions for using them that will help make your celebration a great one.

Sparklers burn at greater than 1000 degrees; hotter than a blowtorch.

Firework Hand Injury Facts

  • There were more than 11,000 firework-related injuries reported in 2016. Of those, 7,600 were treated in the emergency room.
  • Fireworks are only good for a year; using old fireworks increases the risk of a misfire and injury.
  • More than half of emergency room 4th of July injuries were burns.
  • 15-44 year olds had 44% of the injuries received on the 4th of July.
  • After hand injuries, eye and head injuries are the next most frequently occuring firework injuries.
  • Fewer than 6% of firework injuries occur in public displays.
  • Sparklers burn at greater than 1000 degrees; hotter than a blowtorch.
Bacteria from cardboard or explosive fibers make firework hand injuries more serious and complex to treat.

Why Firework Hand Injuries are Nasty to Treat

In my earlier post, “Fireworks Hand Injury: How to Avoid It,” I explain how to weigh the risks and rewards of using fireworks. Injuries sustained from fireworks can be complex and occur at a microscopic level of the hand and fingers. Bacteria from cardboard or explosive fibers can be blown into cuts or burns, making the injury far more serious and complex to treat. Hand and finger injuries can include moderate to severe burns, lacerations, and in some cases, may lead to permanent disfigurement or even amputation.

If you are going to use fireworks this 4th of July, here are some precautions to take when you or your family are around them.

DO’s and DON’Ts to Avoid Fireworks’ Injuries

  • DO supervise children when using fireworks.
  • DO stay 500 feet away from the launch site.
  • DO wear eye protection when using fireworks.
  • DO read and follow instructions before using fireworks at home.
  • DO remain standing when using sparklers.
  • DO soak used fireworks in water before throwing in a trash bag.
  • DON’T alter, combine, or attempt to build your own fireworks.
  • DON’T allow small children to use fireworks or sparklers.
  • DON’T try to relight a “dud” firework.
  • DON’T use fireworks inside at any time.
  • DON’T throw fireworks or sparklers.
  • DON’T consume alcohol when lighting fireworks.
  • DON’T touch fireworks debris. It may still be active or hot.

Make a New 4th of July Tradition

I understand that fireworks are fun part of many family traditions, but with them come serious risks and a long history of avoidable, irreversible injuries, especially to kids. If you choose to light fireworks this year, please take precautions and closely supervise your children.

As a hand specialist who has seen far too many  life-altering injuries from fireworks in the emergency room, I would like to suggest a new tradition. Plan to attend your community fireworks’ display. Watch professionals put on a spectacular fireworks show, while you and your family sit back and enjoy. Hopefully, your 4th of July will be injury-free. Please contact my office for more information or a consultation on any elbow, hand or finger injury.

This site is not intended to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this website and links to other websites, Brandon P. Donnelly, MD provides general information for educational purposes only. The content provided in this website and links, is not a substitute for medical care or treatment. You should not use this information in place of a consultation or the advice of your healthcare provider. Brandon P. Donnelly, MD is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.