As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the Amputee Coalition urges people to practice safety while celebrating with friends and family. This means handling fireworks carefully, following instructions, and ensuring that children are properly supervised when using fireworks.

Per a press release from the Amputee Coalition, a study of injury statistics by the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued in June 2014 notes an increase in fireworks-related deaths and injuries. The injuries noted most often involve the hands, fingers, eyes, and legs, and can result in hand and finger amputations, and burns.

According to the study, per the release, device malfunction and improper use were associated with the most injuries. In 2013, there were eight deaths, and an estimated 11,400 consumers sustained injuries related to fireworks. This is an increase from 8,700 injuries in 2012.

“Every year, after the fact, we hear the news reports about people losing fingers and portions of their hands to firework-related accidents,” says Amputee Coalition President & CEO Susan Stout, in the release.

“Fireworks are a traditional part of America’s celebration of Independence Day; we want families to have fun this Fourth of July, but that does not include a preventable trip to the hospital emergency room,” she explains in the release.

Stout explains that legal consumer fireworks can be relatively safe. However, all fireworks are hazardous and can cause injury if proper safety measures are not followed.

Even sparklers can cause serious burn injuries if they aren’t handled properly, the release notes.

Test your knowledge about fireworks safety with this quick quiz from the National Council on Fireworks Safety, per the release.

Also per the release, The Coalition notes the following tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission on how to stay safe over the holiday weekend:

  • Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Always have an adult nearby to supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, which is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) encourages the public to report the manufacture or sale of illegal fireworks to your local law enforcement agencies or to the ATF hotline at 888/ATF-BOMB (888/283-2662).

[Source: Amputee Coalition]