We know you see this warning every year from 1,000 different places, but seriously: Be freaking careful with fireworks.
Look at these death and injury reports from last year. Here's one where a firework went off in someone's hand early:
And here's another where a man died when one didn't go off, and he went to look at what happened:
That Indiana man is one of 11 people who died from fireworks accidents last year – 10 after being hit with the explosive, and one when their house burned down from a firework, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.
Oh, and in three of the deaths they'd been drinking beforehand, the commission notes.
There were a whopping 11,900 injuries that required treatment at a hospital too. About 8,000 of those happened between June 15 and July 15 – so essentially, 7 out of every 10 fireworks injuries happened in the weeks around Independence Day.
Just in Minnesota, about 73 people a year get sent to the hospital because of fireworks, the Department of Public Safety says.
Doctor's group: We shouldn't even be able to buy fireworks
Washington Post reporter (and recent Minnesota transplant) Christopher Ingraham just wrote a story called "The incredibly stupid thing thousands of people will do this weekend."
His point is that every single year fireworks injuries shoot up dramatically around July 4, and people suffer really gruesome mutilating injuries.
The most high-profile was NFL player Jason Pierre-Paul, who needed reconstructive surgery on his mangled hand and is now doing fireworks safety videos.
Yet we keep using them, and keep getting injured.
The president of one Minnesota doctors group, the Minnesota Medical Association, said this about fireworks:
"Minnesota’s physicians would prefer that fireworks weren’t even available commercially but as long as they are we strongly advise that you leave them to the experts who know how to handle them."
Yes, they'd rather we just not be able to buy them because it's that big of a problem.
But as the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says, since they are legal, at least use them as safely as possible.
- Use them in open areas, away from other people, houses, buildings, animals, trees, etc.
- Only use fireworks that are legal in Minnesota – so no flying explosives.
- Always keep an eye on children when fireworks are out.
- Keep a bucket of sand or water (or a hose) nearby in case something does go wrong.