Joyful celebrations can turn into painful memories when children and adults are injured while incorrectly using fireworks. Consumers should be aware that fireworks
even legal fireworks
can be dangerous, frequently causing serious burns
and eye injuries
, and occasionally fires and asphyxia. Illegal fireworks are especially dangerous and present substantial risks that can result in deaths, loss of sight, amputations
and severe burns. The Consumer Product safety Commission strongly recommends that consumers leave fireworks to the professionals.
The following are examples of injuries from legal and illegal fireworks:
- A 7-year-old boy lost half of his left hand including the fingers when he ignited an M-80 he found hidden in a family bedroom. The M-80 exploded in the boy's hand.
- An 8-year-old girl received second and third degree burns to her leg when a spark from a sparkler she was holding ignited her dress.
- Two boys, ages 10 and 8, received first and second degree burns to their arms when a bottle rocket exploded in a garage at their house. The garage and a car were totally destroyed.
To help prevent incidents like these, the federal government, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, prohibits the sale of the most dangerous types of fireworks. These banned fireworks include large reloadable shells, cherry bombs, aerial bombs, M-80 salutes and larger firecrackers containing more than two grains of powder. Also banned are mail-order kits designed to build these fireworks.
Even legal fireworks should be used only with extreme caution. In a regulation that went into effect December 6, 1976, the U.S. CPSC lowered the permissible charge in firecrackers to no more than 50 milligrams of powder. In addition, the recently amended regulation provides performance specifications for fireworks other than firecrackers intended for consumers' use, including a requirement that fuses burn at least 3 seconds, but no longer than 9 seconds. All fireworks must carry a warning label describing necessary safety precautions and instructions for safe use. In 1997 the Commission issued a new performance requirement to reduce the risk of potentially dangerous tip-over of large multiple tube mine and shell devices. Tip-over of these devices has resulted in two fatalities.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 1999 about 8,500 people were treated in hospital
emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. Approximately 55 percent of the injuries were burns, and most of the injuries involved the hands, eyes and head. About 45 percent of the victims were under 15 years of age.
Before using fireworks, make sure they are permitted in your state or local area. Many states and local governments prohibit or limit consumer fireworks, formerly known as class C fireworks, which are the common fireworks and firecrackers sold for consumer use. Consumer fireworks include shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman Candles, rockets, sparklers, firecrackers with no more than 50 milligrams of powder and novelty items such as snakes and airplanes.
If you or your child have been seriously injured while using fireworks, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
Attorneys associated with InjuryBoard.com
will evaluate your case free of charge
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