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Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand-in-hand. So if a trip to the fireworks stand is in your holiday plans, think safety first.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 240 people visit emergency rooms across the country each day with injuries associated with fireworks during the weeks surrounding Independence Day. Twenty-two percent of injuries occur to the head, face and ear areas.

“How to celebrate July 4th is a question many parents struggle with since kids are attracted to colorful fireworks. Some opt for hand-held sparkers because they are perceived as being safer than fireworks that shoot high up into the sky,” said Maria Cannarozzi, M.D., board-certified in internal medicine and medical director at UCF Health. “However, as you’re handing a toddler a sparker, keep in mind that it can reach 2,000 degrees as it literally produces molten metal-especially dangerous if the child grabs on to the hottest part of the sparkler.”

However, under careful supervision, most fireworks can be enjoyed safely. Before lighting up, consider a few safety tips from the CPSC:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, and insist that older children have adult supervision.
  • Avoid purchasing fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because that’s a sign that they may have been intended for professional displays and may pose a danger to the average consumer.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting the fuse. After lighting, immediately back away as far as possible.
  • If a firework didn’t light the first time, don’t try again. Throw it out.
  • Never point or toss fireworks at anyone.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of fire.

There are so many July 4th fireworks displays around Central Florida that Dr. Cannarozzi encourages everyone to simply pack a healthy picnic and enjoy one of the free, professionally-produced shows. You’ll still enjoy the celebration and will be safer in the long run.

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