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Fireworks-Related Deaths & Injuries on the Rise
DAYTON -- Injuries from fireworks jumped dramatically last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"It's what we do every year at this time," said parent Chris Carter.
With three days left until Independence Day, the Carter family is "Shopping for some fun," he said. "We got roman candles, fire crackers, bottle rockets, smoke bombs and grenades."
There were eight deaths and more than 11,000 people hurt - that's up more than 30 percent from 2012. Typically about 40 percent of those injured are under the age of 15. Some small fireworks are legal in Ohio but that still doesn't mean they are meant for your children. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees - that's hot enough to melt gold.
"I got hurt once," said Carter's son.
"We usually just see burns. That's the main one will see. We had two of them last year," said Dayton Children's physician Dan Evans. "Last year Dayton Children's treated one sparkler injury and one bottle rocket injury.
The two account for 40% of firework related injuries.
"Most of the injuries do occur to children who are under five years old," said Evans. "So children need to be supervised. They cannot be given his autonomy to play around with fireworks."
Also make sure that whatever your lighting is legal, for example in Ohio you can only light Pop-It's, Smoke Bombs and Sparklers.
"Ohio has a law that you can't shoot anything that goes in the air," said TNT Fireworks store manager Nicole Buckingham. "When you check out of our register you have to sign a waiver that says you are taking it out of state within 48 hours of purchase and you have to sign your name and date of birth and you also need a license because you have to be at least 18 years old to buy fireworks."
But if you are going to let the kids play, do it safely.
"I have them wear goggles," said Carter. "They will use the punks instead of a lighter or matches to light the fireworks. Make sure they have a good clear area so they can clear out in a quick hurry without tripping over something or each other. And they do things one at a time. It's just safety so they don't get burned."
"We would think that most of this is common sense but everybody gets around the holiday season, lots of family and friends together, big groups and you lose track of who's supposed to be keeping tabs on the little one," said Evans. "So we will possibly see these injuries year after year after year. That's why they are on the rise."
"Don't ever let kids play with fireworks, period," says Lisa Schwing, RN, trauma program manager at Dayton Children's Hospital. "They're intended for use by adults in open spaces and children should watch from a safe distance with plenty of adult supervision to make sure they don't get too close. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them." However if adults choose to use fireworks, here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Follow fireworks instructions and light only on smooth, flat surfaces, aiming away from spectators, buildings, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
2. Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction.
3. Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or hold them close to your face.
4. Visit http://www.recalls.gov to make sure the pyrotechnic devices you are using are not subject to any safety recalls.
5. Do not modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.
6. Keep a phone and fire extinguisher handy, and know first aid for burns.
"Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency. Also teach them what to do if their clothing catches on fire - 'stop, drop and roll,'" adds Schwing.
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