Sparklers and Speedways: Dangers for Fourth of July Weekend and Your Guide to Safety

July 3, 2024 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

Sparklers and Speedways: Dangers for Fourth of July Weekend and Your Guide to Safety

As Independence Day approaches, Americans eagerly anticipate the spectacle of fireworks and the joy of holiday gatherings.

However, this celebratory period also brings heightened risks, both from fireworks misuse and increased road traffic. Recent data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission reveals a troubling rise in fireworks-related injuries, while traffic experts warn of congested roadways during what’s often called one of the “100 Deadliest Days” for drivers.

Learn more below about the dual challenges of fireworks safety and holiday travel, exploring recent statistics, common injuries, and expert advice. Ensure your Fourth of July celebrations remain both spectacular and safe.


Fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day festivities, and these colorful explosives captivate both children and adults alike. But while they’re spectacular to watch from afar, they can be hazardous if mishandled or viewed too closely.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2023, fireworks incidents resulted in 9,700 emergency room visits and eight fatalities in the United States. Fireworks-related injuries have shown an overall increase from 2008 to 2023, with a peak in 2020 due to pandemic-related cancellations of professional displays.

According to the CPSC, the most commonly injured areas of the body in 2023 were:

  • Hands and fingers (35%)
  • Head, face, and ears (22%)
  • Eyes (19%)

Teenagers aged 15-19 and children aged 5-9 were the most likely to require emergency treatment for fireworks injuries. Medical experts shared the following prevalent fireworks-related injuries and prevention strategies.

Burns: Burns accounted for 42% of fireworks-related ER visits, as per the CPSC report. Burns typically affect hands or face. While usually not severe, these flash burns can be painful. For minor burns, experts suggest cooling with cold water and seeking medical attention if pain persists.

Blast Injuries: Blast injuries involving tissue damage can be severe and debilitating. The danger increases with more compact explosives. If a child tightly grips an exploding firework, the confined explosion can cause significant harm. Blast injuries always require emergency care. Sparklers, however, pose less risk due to their design and lower gunpowder content. The CPSC report noted about 700 sparkler-related injuries out of 9,700 total in 2023. Bottle rockets caused around 800 injuries, with other explosive fireworks responsible for the majority of incidents.

Eye Injuries: Fireworks can cause serious eye injuries, potentially resulting in permanent vision damage. Eye injuries vary in severity but often require medical attention. Even minor corneal abrasions can be extremely painful and risk infection or scarring. More severe injuries involving deeper eye structures can lead to cataracts, retinal detachment, or even blindness. Treatment may range from antibiotic drops to surgery, depending on the injury’s severity. Protective eyewear can prevent these injuries.

Safety experts recommended the following measures:

  • Adult supervision: Teenagers may use fireworks under sober adult supervision.
  • Protective eyewear: Polycarbonate lenses offer the best protection. Sunglasses are a secondary option.
  • Safe distance: Maintain at least 50 feet from aerial fireworks. Use a “punk stick” for lighting and ensure stable positioning on non-flammable surfaces.
  • Water source: Keep a water bucket or hose nearby for emergencies and to extinguish used fireworks.


Chain | Cohn | Clark attorney Chris Hagan join Bakersfield Eyewitness News to discuss dangerous roadways during the summer in Kern County, which includes the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers as well as one of the busiest travel days of the year for the Fourth of July.

“You are more likely to be killed by an impaired driver on a Kern County roadway versus virtually any other city or town in our entire state and our entire country,” said Hagan in an interview with KBAK-29 Eyewitness News.

Roadways throughout the country are expected to be more congested than ever before during the holiday weekend. AAA predicts 2.8 million additional travelers compared to 2023. For the worst and best times to travel, visit the AAA website at


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at