HOLLAND – In 2010, there were an estimated 8400 firework-related injuries and three deaths in the United States, according to a recent Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report. That number is a significant increase from the 6300 injuries recorded in 2009. Almost 2,000 of these injuries occurred within 30 days of July 4.
“Consumers need to heed our warning: fireworks related incidents, especially those involving illegal fireworks, can be fatal,” says CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Approximately 40% of all firework-related injuries are caused by easily accessible fireworks such as bottle rockets, firecrackers, and sparklers, according to the CPSC report.
“I’m surprised by how many kids come in with burns on their hands and faces from bottle rockets and sparklers,” says Melissa Easdon, Emergency Department Manager at Holland Hospital. “Many people seem to view these items as less dangerous and therefore safe for younger children, however, there is clearly still a risk for injury.”
The CPSC offers numerous tips to reduce the risk of injuries from fireworks including:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Douse used fireworks with water and discard of them properly
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Easdon’s advice to reduce firework-related injuries and casualties: play it safe and leave all unsupervised handling of fireworks up to the professionals.
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