As Independence Day celebrations approach this weekend, officials at the Consumer Products Safety Commission are urging the public to use common sense if they plan to use fireworks this year.
The commission estimates that in 2014, about 10,500 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks.
At least 67 percent of the estimated injuries occurred in a one-month special study period between June 20 and July 20 of last year.
The special study, showed that more than half of the fireworks-related injuries were burns.
Officials also warn that very young children should not be allowed to play with fireworks at all, including sparklers.
“Most of the injuries involved hands, fingers and the head including the face, eyes, and ears,” the report stated. “Children under the age of 15 years old accounted for roughly 35 percent of the estimated injuries. Fireworks should be used only with extreme caution, while older children should be closely supervised, and younger.”
Unfortunately, the parents of a 12-year-old boy from Nashville, Tenn., are suffering after he was killed while playing with fireworks on Sunday.
Authorities said Antonio Braden died while playing when a mortar shell exploded and hit him in the chest. The boy ran 30-feet before collapsing.
Last year at least 11 people were killed by fireworks-related accidents nationwide.
Safety Commission Chairman Elliott Kay said children younger than 15 years old received the most injuries in 2014, with sparklers and rockets doing the most damage.
“The 30 days around July 4th are the most dangerous when it comes to fireworks every year,” said CPSC chairman Elliott Kaye.
Locally, officials advise reading the fireworks safety permit issued through area fireworks retailers before discharging their fireworks, be it, Safe and Sane, or the aerial variety this year.
Officials urge the public to adhere to the following safety tips by the CPSC when using fireworks: Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.