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CPSC tracks deaths and injuries related to fireworks

This report provides the results of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff’s analysis of data on non-occupational, fireworks-related deaths and injuries during calendar year 2019. The report also summarizes CPSC staff’s enforcement activities during fiscal year 2019.1
Staff obtained information on fireworks-related deaths from news clippings and other sources in CPSC’s Consumer Product Safety Risk Management System (CPSRMS). Staff estimated fireworks- related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments using data from CPSC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). CPSC staff conducted a special study of non-occupational, fireworks-related injuries between June 21, 2019 and July 21, 2019. The special study included collecting and analyzing more detailed incident information, such as the type of injury, the fireworks involved, the characteristics of the victim, and the incident scenario. About 73 percent of the estimated annual fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries for 2019 occurred during that period.

Highlights of the report:
Deaths and Injuries
• CPSC staff received reports of 12 non-occupational, fireworks-related deaths during 2019. Seven of the deaths were associated with misuse of fireworks, 2 deaths were associated with fireworks device malfunction (late ignition), and 3 incidents were associated with unknown circumstances. Reporting of fireworks-related deaths for 2019 is not complete, and the number of deaths in 2019 should be considered a minimum.

• Fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2019 (95 percent confidence interval 7,100 – 12,900). The estimated rate of fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States is 3.1 per 100,000 individuals.

• There is not a statistically significant trend in estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks- related injuries from 2004-2019.

• An estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries (or 73 percent of the total estimated fireworks- related injuries in 2019) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the 1-month special study period between June 21, 2019 and July 21, 2019 (95 percent confidence interval 4,700-9,900).
Results from the 2019 Special Study

• Of the 7,300 estimated fireworks-related injuries sustained, 66 percent were to males and 34 percent were to females.

• Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36 percent of the estimated fireworks-related injuries. Similar to last year, nearly half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
1 Fiscal year 2019 refers to the period of October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

• Children 0 to 4 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries (5.3 injuries per 100,000 people). Older teens, 15 to 19 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate (4.4 injuries per 100,000 people).

• There were an estimated 900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.

• There were an estimated 800 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers. Of these, an estimated 24 percent were associated with small firecrackers, 16 percent with large firecrackers, 3 percent with illegal firecrackers, and the remaining 57 percent were associated with firecrackers of an unspecified size.

• The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 30 percent); legs (an estimated 23 percent); eyes (an estimated 15 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 15 percent); and arms (an estimated 10 percent).

• Fifty-eight percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers, arms, and legs.

• Approximately 87 percent of the victims were treated at a hospital emergency department and then released. An estimated 12 percent of patients were treated and transferred to another hospital, or admitted to the hospital.

• CPSC staff conducted telephone follow-up investigations on a selected sample of fireworks- related injuries reported in NEISS during the special study period to clarify information about the incident scenario or fireworks type. A review of data from the 9 completed follow-up investigations showed that most injuries were associated with misuse or malfunctions of fireworks. Most victims recovered or were expected to recover completely. However, there were victims who reported that their injuries may be long term.

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