Leave fireworks to the professionals, say burn experts

Burn experts from Shriners Hospital for Children want to urge people to leave the firework displays for the professionals this July 4th holiday.

Studies say that fireworks cause over 9,000 injuries each year and most of them occur during the July 4th holiday. One of the most common injuries seen during the holiday is innocent bystanders and not the people using the fireworks.

"Shriners Hospitals for children wants people to know that fireworks are extremely dangerous, especially the casual use of them that is often seen at neighborhood parties and celebrations," said Richard J. Kagan, M.D., chief of staff at the pediatric hospital.

Burn professionals say that there are no safe fireworks and improper use and use by non-professionals can result in serious injuries for the users and bystanders.

 Here are some firework safety facts:

• Hands and eyes are the most common body parts injured by fireworks.

• One out of every four fireworks injuries affects the eyes, most often caused by sparklers, rockets or firecrackers.

• Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees F. and cause the greatest number of fireworks injuries to children 14 and younger.

If you are around any fireworks displays, follow these safety tips:

• Prohibit children younger than age 14 from using fireworks and supervise older children.

• Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves, and grass or flammable materials.

• Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't ignite.

• Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.  Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.

• Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

• Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.

• Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas and store fireworks in a dry, cool place.

• Observe all local laws related to the use of fireworks.

• Don't experiment with homemade fireworks.

• Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

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