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Firework-related injuries up 25% over last 15 years, report finds

The federal report found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the majority of injuries and deaths in the U.S. happen in the month around the 4th of July.

WASHINGTON — A new federal report shows that more Americans are being injured or killed by fireworks, with more than 11,500 injuries reported in 2021 alone. 

The report, from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, outlines a 25% growth in firework-related injuries over a 15-year span from 2006 to 2021. Deaths have held steadier, the report found. About 10 people each year die in firework-related incidents. 

In 2006, about 9,200 firework injuries were reported in the U.S. By 2021, there were 11,500. CPSC cautions that those numbers are likely low because of improper reporting. 

Not surprisingly, most of the injuries were reported in places you'd expect fireworks to hurt somebody using them improperly. More than 50% of the incidents reported in 2021 involved either the hands, fingers, face or head. 

Burns were by far the most common injury, followed by cuts and bumps. 

A vast majority of the injuries appear to have taken place in the month between June 18 and July 18 — 4th of July season. 

On average, the commission found that each year there are about 274 more firework-related injuries than in the previous year. 

Alongside the growing number of injuries, CSPC officials reported an average death rate of 9.9 deaths per year associated with fireworks. In 2021, there were nine deaths. But just like with the injuries, officials caution that the number of deaths they found represents a minimum, and that more deaths are likely to have been uncounted or misreported. 

Despite the relatively steady growth in firework-related incidents, officials said 2020 was an especially bad year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many official firework shows around Independence Day were canceled. With no sanctioned shows, many people took it upon themselves to set off the colorful explosives, leading to a spike in injuries. 

In 2020, about 15,600 people were injured by fireworks.

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