It wouldn't be Independence Day without fireworks, but for too many people each year, the holiday celebration ends with a trip to the emergency room.
Last year, eight people died and an estimated 11,400 people were hurt while handling fireworks, according to the latest figures from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That's up from 8,700 injuries in 2012.
A new CPSC study released Thursday shows that 65 percent of injuries last year happened within the 30 day period leading up to the July 4th holiday.
Children under the age of 5 had the highest per capita rate of fireworks injuries. Sparklers may seem kid-friendly, but CPSC warns they can cause serious burns. Sparklers and bottle rockets together accounted for more than 40 percent of all injuries, the group reports.
"CPSC works year-round to help prevent deaths and injuries from legal and illegal fireworks," Acting Chairman Bob Adler said in a statement. "We engage the fireworks industry, monitor incoming fireworks shipments at the ports, and enforce federal safety rules, so that all Americans have a safe Fourth of July."
If you still plan on celebrating with fireworks, CPSC offers the following safety tips:
- Buy legal fireworks
- Don't let young kids handle or light fireworks, including sparklers
- Always have adults supervise firework activities in the presence of children
- Don't buy fireworks packaged in brown paper -- it's a sign they were made for professionals, not consumers
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby, just in case
- Don't try to relight malfunctioning fireworks
- Douse the used fireworks in water before disposing in the trash
For more fireworks safety advice, visit the CPSC website.