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The Deadliest Weekend of the Year


A long, weekend filled with swimming, travel and fireworks describes the average American July 4th celebration. It also unfortunately describes the deadliest holiday weekend of the year. The combination of swimming accidents, motor vehicle crashes and firework mishaps leads to an extremely busy couple days for first responders and emergency departments across the country.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied accident statistics over the July 4th holiday for the years 2008-2012. It determined that on average there were 127 deaths due to motor vehicle crashes per year. In 41% of those deaths, a high blood-alcohol content was present; therefore alcohol overlays and adds to the perfect storm of often reckless swimming, driving and firework displays.


In 2015, U.S. emergency rooms treated approximately 11,900 people for firework-related injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries to hands and fingers were the most common types of accidents, accounting for 36% of treatment sought. Injuries to heads accounted for 22%, and injuries to eyes for 16%. Sadly, in 2015, children under 15 years old comprised a full 26% of all estimated injuries from fireworks.

Part of the reason for the disproportionately high level of injury in children is that some of the very fireworks marketed as safe for kids to handle are actually very dangerous. Sparklers are very popular with children, and are generally considered by adults to be fairly harmless. However, sparklers burn at 2000 degrees and can easily light a child’s clothes on fire, not to mention burn their fingers and hands.


To minimize injury while enjoying July 4th festivities, below are some helpful tips on how to use fireworks:

Do not place any body parts directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse

Back up several feet right after lighting fireworks

Never throw or point fireworks at another person

Don’t experiment with fireworks

Never try to relight or “fix” fireworks

Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing

Never carry fireworks in small closed spaces, like pockets

Remember that fireworks aren’t toys

Children should never be allowed to handle fireworks.

When lighting fireworks, put on safety glasses to protect the eyes.

Only use fireworks outside in an open area.

Keep a bucket of water nearby at all times to soak duds with, and do not try to relight them.

Don’t light fireworks in any type of container, and never carry them in a pocket, because the friction of movement can cause them to light.

Keep a first aid kit handy, and if serious injury is suffered, seek medical attention.


If you or someone you love is injured from an accident with fireworks, contact Dave Thomas at

The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

Phone: (678) 264-8348.
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