Keep fireworks out of the hands of small, featureless sociopaths. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)


That’s the estimated number of people who were treated for firework-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Eleven people died.

Those estimates are part of an annual report that serves as a warning for how quickly Independence Day fun can turn tragic, a message reinforced by the commission’s periodic, graphic safety demonstrations on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

Here are some of the report’s other findings, interspersed with photos from the safety demonstrations:

(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Most of the people injured in the month around July 4th last year were men, with women accounting for just 24 percent of injuries.

Hands and fingers were the most injured body parts during that period, accounting for 36 percent of injuries. Nineteen percent of the injuries affected the eyes, while another 19 percent involved the head, face or ears. More than half of the injuries were burns.

(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

The commission also identified 11 non-occupational deaths related to fireworks throughout 2014, four of which involved victims who died in house fires caused by fireworks. Here’s one such example from the report:

A 19-year-old female died from smoke inhalation in an apartment fire. The fire started when an 18-year-old male threw a sparkler through a second floor window to get the victim’s brother’s attention. The victim’s brother was actually sleeping downstairs at the time.

(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

While emergency room treatments were down last year from the year before, there has been no statistically significant trend since 1999, the commission found.

(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Some states have banned consumer fireworks outright.

Delaware, New Jersey and Massachusetts ban all consumer fireworks, while Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Vermont allow only sparklers or other novelties, according to the commission’s latest report. The remaining 43 states and Washington, D.C., allow some or all consumer fireworks. (Local governments also sometimes regulate fireworks, so check local rules before lighting up.)

(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Here are some (mostly obvious) tips from the commission:

  • Be careful around sparklers, which can reach temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees when burning.
  • Never let young kids play with fireworks.
  • Avoid fireworks packaged in brown paper — that often means they were made for professional displays.
  • Be careful around partially ignited fireworks.
  • Don’t point or throw fireworks at people or hold body parts over them.
  • Keep water nearby and douse spent fireworks after they finish burning.

(U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)