Every year, Americans express their patriotism on Independence Day and celebrate other festive occasions with fireworks. As a result, approximately 12 446 individuals, more than half of them children, have fireworks-related injuries that require hospital treatment. In 1988, it is estimated that 20 people died as a direct result of injuries caused by fireworks or by the fires they caused. The hands (32%), head (18%), legs(15%), and eyes(14%) are the body parts most often involved, accounting for about 80% of all fireworks-related injuries. About one third of the eye injuries result in permanent blindness. Hand and finger injuries require 120 estimated amputations annually. Burns are the most common type of fireworks-related injury: lacerations, contusions, and abrasions are also frequent.
Under current federal regulations issued by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) in 1976, any firecracker containing more than 50 mg of explosive material is banned, although aerial devices still may contain up to 130 mg of powder. The CPSC classifies explosive devices into three categories: Class A, which are solid explosives such as TNT and dynamite; Class B, which includes large firecrackers, cherry bombs, and M-80s; and Class C, the common, or so-called "safe and sane" devices. Class B devices are banned from public sale but are used for professional displays. Class C fireworks include fountains and candles, which shoot out sparks or flaming balls, rockets with sticks (called "bottle rockets" because it is customary to stand them in a soda bottle for ignition), other rockets, sparklers, and smoke devices.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics