The 4th of July is a time of celebration, bringing families, neighbors, and pet owners together for a night of revelry sometimes involving alcohol. Even if you don’t mix the alcohol with the explosives, the 4th of July is the most injury-prone holiday out there, with 240 people making a trip to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries every day during the month surrounding Independence Day.
Back in the day, it was just a delinquent kid pawning bottle rockets out of a bag in his garage, or that rogue classmate who would travel a state away for those extra loud firecrackers which annoyed the crap out of all of us. Today, though, your Average Joe can both afford and have easy access to enormous pyrotechnics previously only available commercially.
Although you don’t have to travel to a fireworks show anymore to see beautiful aerial displays, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. In the hands of amateurs, these fireworks can cause injury and even death. Before you wander around without an eye for the dangers of the holiday, keep Neighbor Joe and his renowned ability to park in front of your driveway in mind. If he’s that dumb sober, imagine on a holiday with alcohol and explosives. Just something to keep in mind. Check out our most dangerous fireworks below.
1. Public Display
So the professionals don’t always get it right. Maybe you thought that taking the kiddos to a public fireworks display would be a safer alternative to blowing things up in your own driveway. You’d be only partly right. Public display accounts for 4-percent of all fireworks-related injuries, which is surprisingly high considering these are the people who supposedly know what they’re doing. Food for thought.
Opting for fountains in lieu of explosive devices is a mom nugget of wisdom that actually makes statistical sense. Only 1-percent of all fireworks related injuries are related to fountains. To put that into perspective, though, there are still 100 people out there who have had a fountain mishap this year alone. So no, mom, they’re not entirely safe. But they’re the safest of the most dangerous, we guess.
This is any firework attached to more fireworks, usually on a string. So, primarily firecrackers. Who thought this was a good idea anyway? Know what teenagers like more than one firecracker? One hundred firecrackers! This category accounts for a whopping 22-percent of all fireworks-related injuries. We can bet that the teenage boy down the street probably featured in that percentile somewhere.
4. Roman Candles
Speaking of teenagers, the infamous roman candle of course makes this list. You know, the firework that dad insists on holding even though the label explicitly says ‘DO NOT HOLD’. Yeah, that one. Roman candles cause 4-percent of injuries every year, which is no surprise given how people use them. Did you ever wonder what would happen if that thing backfired…?
5. ‘Kid’ Fireworks
Snakes, smoke bombs, poppers. You know the kind. You buy the kids a bag and let them have at it in the July heat. You’d have to be pretty dumb to injure yourself with these, but since our audience skews younger here, that might make sense. These account for 5-percent of all injuries. A worthwhile sacrifice. After all, how else can we teach kids the American tradition of blowing things up?
6. Illegal Fireworks
Maybe they’re illegal for a reason…? If it sounds like the name of a machine gun, it probably falls under this category. These things account for 6-percent of all injuries, which is no surprise given their sole purpose in life is to explode and report and strongly as possible. Go figure.
Who knew that giving consumers unrestricted access to commercial grade fireworks was a bad idea? These are the things that you put in a tube, light, and run away from to watch a firework in the sky that’s maybe a little too close for comfort. Unsurprisingly, these things cause nearly 10-percent of all injuries, because people are dumb, and where dumb people are, the improper use of fireworks will surely follow.
8. Bottle Rockets
Another timeless favorite, the bottle rocket. Teenage boys love them, moms hate them. Considering I personally know of three or four people in my circle of friends who have had mishaps with bottle rockets, it’s unsurprising that these make the list. Surprisingly, though, these only account for 2-percent of injuries. Unsurprisingly, I have poor choice in friends.
Sparklers? We’re joking, right? Well, when you give small children 2,000 degrees of burning stick and tell them it’s a ‘toy’, you’re in for a lot of trouble. No, Johnny, you can’t put that in your sister’s hair. These wonderful little beauties are responsible for nearly 20-percent of all injuries. Adult supervision definitely required.