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June 20, 2014

Spark into Safety Mode with Fireworks this Independence Day

Orthopaedic surgeons provide safety tips

ROSEMONT, Ill - Amid the family barbecues and parades each Independence Day is the popular tradition of fireworks displays. While many families take to their neighborhood parks to watch these magnificent bursts of colors, others opt to create a spectacle in their own backyards.
While many people see fireworks as harmless entertainment, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) wants revelers to take precaution.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that for fireworks-related injuries:
  • There were more than 26,500 in 2013, including 10,507 emergency department visits. 
  • Forty-four percent of the patients treated in emergency rooms in 2012 were younger than age 20.
  • The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (41 percent of injuries); head, face and ears (19 percent); trunk (15 percent); and legs (13 percent).
  • More than half of these injuries were burns.
  • 600 injuries were related to sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.
Expert Advice:
“Fireworks are a fun and memorable part of the 4th of July holiday, but can cause devastating injuries if not used properly,” said Columbia, MO. orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Brett Crist, MD. “If you are going to use fireworks, consider following recommended safety tips to protect your fingers and other parts of the body. For example, never hold lighted fireworks with your hand or place them near the body.”
There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy fireworks this summer without putting yourself or your family at risk:
  • Check with your local police department to determine if fireworks are legal. If so, determine which types, and also verify that there is not a burn ban in effect for fire hazard conditions.
  • Consider watching a fireworks show in your community rather than having one of your own.
  • Never buy or use illegal fireworks. Their quality cannot be assured. 
  • Only adults should light fireworks.
  • Always have water handy in case of a fire, such as a hose hooked to a faucet, or a nearby bucket of water.   
  • Read the caution label on packaging before igniting.
  • Wear safety eyewear when using fireworks.
  • Soak used fireworks in water before discarding.
  • Never try to relight a firework.
  • If you are injured using fireworks, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Never allow young children to play with or go near fireworks, including sparklers. They
    seem harmless but sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
  • Never handle fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.                          


Orthopaedic surgeonsrestore mobility and reduce pain; they help people get back to work and to independent, productive lives. Visit ANationInMotion.orgto read successful orthopaedic stories. is your source for bone and joint health news, stats, facts, images and spokesperson interview requests. 
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About the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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