PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This will be a weekend filled with fireworks, but new research shows injuries related to fireworks are increasing. It’s unclear what’s causing the recent uptick in firework injuries, but doctors say it’s an alarming trend.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding Americans to play it safe this Independence Day. Its new report shows fireworks-related injuries are up 25% over the past 15 years.
Last year, there were at least nine deaths and an estimated 11,500 emergency room visits.
“The overall trend is still high, and we want to make sure that people understand that fireworks are explosives,” Alex Hoehn-Saric, chair of the CPSC, said. “They are dangerous.”
It’s not just fireworks that can cause injuries, sparklers can be just as dangerous.
“Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees,” Hoehn-Saric said, “so it’s like having a blowtorch in your hand.”
Most fireworks injuries are burns, mainly to younger people.
“Fourth of July is one of the biggest, busiest times of the year for us here, especially with trauma primarily because of firework-related injuries,” said Dr. Nadia Haqqie, a doctor at Wills Eye Hospital.
Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia is gearing up for a busy weekend, with eye injuries being another potential danger linked to July 4 festivities.
“There are so many ways to get injured, there are so many parts of the eye that can be injured,” Haqqie said, “and unfortunately, a lot of damage can be permanent and can result in blindness.”
Experts say attending a professional display is the safer way to celebrate.
One review on backyard fireworks showed about 31% were defective, which increases the risk for injury.
Doctors say it’s critically important to keep children away from them.