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With the upcoming fourth of July holiday, Americans look to enjoy a long weekend of celebrating our nation’s independence. Most will get together with families, friends, and fireworks. Unfortunately, thousands of people are treated each year for injuries sustained while using fireworks. Many of those injured are amateur firework artists who put themselves and others in danger.

Approximately 11 people each year die from fireworks and over nine thousand are treated in emergency rooms for firework related injuries in the United States alone. Of these, more than two thirds happen between the dates of June 16th to July 16th. One of every three people injured is a child under 15, and three times as many males are injured as females.

Injuries sustained while playing with fireworks include blindness, third degree burns, and scarring. Fireworks have also been known to cause life-threatening residential and motor vehicle fires. The most dangerous firework products are firecrackers, which cause approximately 1,300 injuries per year; sparklers, cause approximately 1,000 injuries; and rocket-style firecrackers, which cause approximately 800 injuries.

To protect yourself from firework related injuries make sure to only purchase those fireworks that are legally available for the public for purchase. Buying fireworks close to state boarders where regulations might be more lenient, or buying types of fireworks that are illegally sold in the United States could increase your probability of injury. The majority of injuries occur from individuals remaining too close to the fireworks after being lit. Curiosity and experimentation can lead to unpredictable explosions and increase your chances of being injured.

The Federal Hazardous Substances Act prohibits the sale of dangerous types of fireworks and their components. These banned firework types include M-80’s, quarter and half sticks, and the majority of large fire crackers and rockets.

Enjoying and celebrating this national holiday is as American as apple pie. But make sure that your holiday is not only fun, but safe. Ensuring that all those watching or playing with fireworks are safe will allow everyone to have an enjoyable holiday.

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