Fireworks sent 15,600 people to the hospital last year. These are the most common injuries.

Fourth of July celebrations are here – and so fireworks-related emergencies.

In 2020, an estimated 15,600 people were hospitalized with injuries related to fireworks – the highest number in the last 15 years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported. Sixty-six percent of the injuries happened between June 21, 2020 and July 21, 2020.

Fireworks handled incorrectly can be fatal; 12 out of 18 deaths reported in 2020 were related to misuse. One death was due to an electric malfunction, and five with unknown circumstances, according to CPSC.

On Wednesday, 17 people were injured after a bunch of homemade fireworks exploded in Los Angeles. The blast flipped and damaged cars, smashed windows and sent six civilians to the emergency room, the Associated Press reported.

Before you go lighting fireworks for this year's Fourth of July celebration, take a look at the most common injuries:

Hands and fingers

Injuries to hands and fingers were most commonly treated for firework related incidents at emergency departments in 2020. The CPSC estimated 3,100 injuries from June 21, 2020 to July 21, 2020.

Two thousand of the injuries were burns while 400 were reported fractures and sprains. 200 were contusions or lacerations and 600 were other diagnosis.

NFL linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul became an advocate for safety after almost blowing his right hand off during a firework accident in 2015.

Head, ear and face

Following hands and fingers, the head, face and ear region was the second highest common injury related to fireworks between the same months.

Of the 2,300 estimate injuries to that region, 900 were contusions or lacerations, 500 were burns, 200 were fractures and sprains and 700 were other diagnosis, the CPSC reported.

A 47-year-old died from blunt-force trauma to the head when a large mortar fireworks shell he was holding to his head exploded in 2015.

"We ask everyone to use caution and remember that alcohol and fireworks do not mix," Walled Lake Police Chief Paul Shakinas said at the time.


Eyes were the third most common injury treated at the hospital involving fireworks. The CPSC estimated 1,500 eye injuries with 500 of them diagnosed as contusions or lacerations.

Two hundred reported eye injuries were burns and 700 were other diagnoses.

In 2014, a chief meteorologist in Detroit lost vision in his left eye after a July 4 fireworks accident.

Legs, arms and trunk

Legs and arms made a combined total of 25% of injuries treated at emergency departments due to fireworks from June 21, 2020 to July 21, 2020.

Majority of the injuries were burns and contusions or lacerations. 300 arm injuries were diagnosed as fractures or sprains and 400 leg injuries were other diagnoses.

The torso or other body regions made up the least treated firework injuries with 800 reported, according to the CPSC.

In 2016, a 15-year-old had his leg amputated after fashioning 180 sparklers wrapped tightly with electrical tape in Texas.

Firework safety tips

If you do choose to use legal fireworks, here are some safety tips from the National Security Council:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks, and older children should use them only under close adult supervision

  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol

  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear

  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands

  • Never light them indoors

  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material

  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting

  • Never ignite devices in a container

  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks

  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding

  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire

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Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: July 4th fireworks: Most common ER injuries are hurt hands and fingers