Avoid Firework Accidents this 4th of July

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Firework safety took center stage at the nation's capital, Wednesday.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission held its annual demonstrations, as families prepare for their Fourth of July celebrations. Last year, about 10,000 were injured in the U.S. as a result of fireworks and 11 people died, the group said.

"No one should go from a backyard celebration to the emergency room with firework related injuries," said Nancy Nord, CPSC acting chairman. "Using only legal fireworks and using them correctly is an important step towards celebrating safely."

About 16 percent of firework injuries are caused by sparklers. The stick-like fireworks can easily burn hands and legs if not handled properly, especially with children.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety reports that sparkler injuries accounted for one-third of all firework injuries to children 5 years or younger.

The Council offers the following tips to make your fireworks displays enjoyable, rather than harmful:

  • Always wear safety goggles when lighting fireworks.
  • Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
  • Make sure you have water handy, maybe a hose or buckets of water.
  • Never re-light a "dud" firework. Instead, you should wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

CPSC adds the following:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area.
  • Avoid buying fireworks in brown paper packaging. It could mean they are for professional displays.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • Never shoot fireworks off in metal or glass containers

Sources: Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Council on Fireworks Safety

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