Hot dogs, barbecues and get-togethers are how many Americans will plan to enjoy Independence Day this year. But no one plans a trip to the emergency room for the holiday. Unfortunately, that's what 6,500 people did in 2005 due to accidents caused by fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to the latest data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. There were 10,800 firework-related injuries for the entire year, an increase of 1,200 injuries from 2004.
Sadly, many of those injured were children. In fact, 45 percent of all fireworks injuries are to those aged 15 and younger. Most injuries are to the hands and fingers, but 1,400 were eye injuries, including contusions and lacerations, debris in the eye and burns. Eye injuries can take a very long time to heal, and some result in permanent vision loss.
Firecrackers and rockets are unpredictable. Some explode prematurely and rockets can take different flight paths than expected.
Even devices considered to be "safe and sane" fireworks are dangerous. In 2005, there were 500 children under the age of 5 that were hurt by sparklers. In fact, sparklers accounted for half of all fireworks injuries to children in that age group. Sparklers can burn up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, while their sparks can ignite surrounding objects including clothing and shoes, causing terrible and painful burns.
Prevent Blindness America, the nation's oldest eye health and safety organization, urges everyone to leave fireworks to the professionals this year. Many communities offer spectacular displays to the public, free of charge. The group also offers a free brochure, "Safe Summer Celebrations" with creative ideas on how to celebrate the holiday without fireworks.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.