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Middletown Regional Hospital Offers Fireworks Safety Tips

Fireworks are not only dangerous, but can also cause serious burn and eye injuries. In fact, according to Prevent Blindness America, more than 13,000 fireworks victims are rushed to the emergency room each year. About half of those victims are children. Fireworks handlers are not the only ones injured by fireworks. Fireworks mishaps injure approximately 40 percent of all bystanders.

"One of the reasons fireworks injuries continue to occur is because people just don't take the time to stop and think about how dangerous these devices really are," said Ralph Talkers, MD, medical director of the emergency department at Middletown Regional Hospital. "They don't realize, until it's too late, that the risk of blindness or injury due to improper fireworks handling far outweighs the excitement. What's more, giving fireworks to children can often mean a trip to the hospital emergency room."

Ohio's fireworks law is unclear and sends a mixed message to people in southwest Ohio. Currently, the law allows for the purchase of virtually any kind of fireworks, but forbids their discharge except by licensed persons. Yet, the law is nearly impossible to enforce and, as a result, many inexperienced users are rushed to area hospitals each year.

Three types of fireworks keep hospital emergency rooms busy during this holiday season: bottle rockets, firecrackers, and sparklers. Bottle rockets and firecrackers can fly in any direction before exploding and sparklers burn at temperatures hot enough to melt gold.

"This summer, we'd like to caution parents NOT to purchase sparklers for kids under 15-years-old. Little hands can easily be burned on the metal after the sparkler flame is extinguished," adds Dr. Talkers.

To help celebrate safely this Fourth of July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety offer the following safety tips:

  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Have an adult present.
  • Buy from reliable sellers.
  • Use outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket)
  • Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never relight a "dud" (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trash can.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
  • Stay away from illegal explosives.