Skip to main content

More than 6,000 U.S. Children Injured by Fireworks Annually

More than 6,000 U.S. Children Injured by Firew

More than 6,000 children go to emergency rooms every year for at-home fireworks-related injuries in the United States, according to a new study.

Parents are present in more than half the cases, say researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children's Hospital in Ohio.

"Children who were injured while playing with fireworks themselves accounted for approximately half of the injuries," said Rachel Witsaman, one of the study's authors . "Even more concerning was that one-fourth of injuries occurred to bystanders. This means that a child is at risk of injury by simply being near where fireworks are being used."

The study, based on data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for children and young adults up to age 19, is published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics.

About 80 percent of the injured are boys. Some 60 percent of the injuries are burns. The injuries occur most commonly to:

  • Eyes: 21 percent
  • Face: 20 percent
  • Hands: 20 percent

The devices causing the injuries:

  • Firecrackers: 30 percent
  • Sparklers/novelty devices: 21 percent
  • Aerial devices: 18 percent

"Our study was limited to fireworks injuries treated in hospital emergency departments," said CIRP faculty member Dawn Comstock. "The actual number is certainly higher when considering those who did not seek medical treatment or were cared for by other healthcare providers."

The researchers suggest parents take children to public fireworks displays rather than trying this at home.

Robert Roy Britt
Rob was a writer and editor at starting in 1999. He served as managing editor of Live Science at its launch in 2004. He is now Chief Content Officer overseeing media properties for the sites’ parent company, Purch. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, and in 1998 he was founder and editor of the science news website ExploreZone. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.