fireworksThe National Safety Council today released estimates of fatalities from traffic crashes for the upcoming Independence Day weekend – 6 p.m. on July 3 through 11:59 p.m. on July 6. The Council estimates 385* deaths and an additional 41,200* medically consulted injuries may occur over this holiday weekend from motor vehicle collisions. NSC also estimates 141* lives may be saved during this time period from people wearing safety belts.

“The Fourth of July is a time for celebrations – not the emergency room,” said Deborah Hersman, NSC president and CEO. “Small steps like wearing your safety belt, leaving fireworks to the professionals and keeping an eye on children in and around water can prevent deaths and injuries.”

To ensure a safe Independence Day holiday weekend, NSC recommends the following tips:

  • Refrain from all cell phone use – both hands-free and handheld – behind the wheel
  • Do not drink and drive, as impairment begins with the first drink – if you drink, designate a non-drinking driver or take alternate transportation
  • Place children in age-appropriate safety seats, and never leave a child unattended in a vehicle
  • Stay safe while boating by not operating a boat under the influence and making sure kids wear personal flotation devices

Fireworks displays are a special part of Independence Day. However, an estimated eight** deaths and 11,400** injuries involving fireworks occurred in 2013. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a public display conducted by professionals. If fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them:

  • Never allow young kids to handle fireworks – teens should only use fireworks under close adult supervision
  • Do not allow running or horseplay near fireworks
  • Have at least a bucket of water available and a garden hose ready to go
  • Have a first aid kit nearby and know how to treat burns – just in case
  • Choose a person who is alcohol-free and wearing safety glasses to shoot off the fireworks
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting fireworks
  • Light fireworks one at a time, in a clear outdoor area – plan the show to avoid having fireworks come down on people, houses or cars
  • Never aim fireworks at another person and don’t place any body part over a firework
  • Never try to relight duds – if a firework malfunctions and doesn’t go off, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in water before disposing of it

*Supplemental Independence Day Holiday Traffic Fatality Estimate Detail

**According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

About the National Safety Council

 Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council,, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.Safety+Health magazine, the Council’s flagship publication, is a leading source of occupational safetyand health information. 

Source: National Safety Council press release