Fireworks injuries, deaths spiked during pandemic

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 11:46 AM CDT
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(CNN) – It’s a popular way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but fireworks can also be dangerous.

“Enjoy the public displays, the ones that are being put on my professionals. They know what they’re doing, and that’s probably your safest bet,” said Carolina Fountain of the Red Cross.

Last year, when more people shot off their own fireworks, it sparked a spike in injuries and deaths, according to a new report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

At least 18 people across the country died in fireworks-related incidents last year.

The report also said about 15,600 people ended up in the emergency room for fireworks-related injuries in 2020.

Most of those injuries happened in the weeks around the July Fourth holiday. Burns were the most common injury.

If you’re setting off your own fireworks, the Red Cross says to wear eye protection.

“There might be some sparks, and you don’t want those getting into your eyes,” Fountain said.

Also, keep fireworks away from small children.

Some parents may not realize that young children can suffer injuries from sparklers.

And watch where you’re pointing your fireworks.

“You want to avoid, of course, any pets, any people and anything that could be flammable,” Fountain said. “So, we’re talking about houses. We’re talking about brush, anything that could cause a fire.”

Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

“Do not try to restart a dud because you never know what’s going to happen with those,” Fountain said.

One final safety tip: If you’re setting off fireworks at home, the Red Cross suggests keeping water close by as a precaution and to always follow the instructions on the packaging.

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