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Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals!

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For many of us, the 4th of July evokes childhood memories of barbecues, patriotic songs, hot-dog-eating contests, and of course, fireworks. But while it is a fun time of year for families, it is important to keep our children safe. We can accomplish this by leaving the fireworks to the professionals!

dangerous fireworks

Dr. Alanna Levine: Each year, thousands of people are injured from consumer fireworks, and the risk is 2 ½ times greater for children ages 10-14. More than half of the injuries are burns; however, cuts, bruises, and abrasions commonly occur. Injuries typically involve the extremities and the head. Approximately one third of all firework-related eye injuries cause permanent blindness.

From these statistics, it's clear that the so-called "safe and sane" fireworks are far from safe; in fact, every type of legally available consumer firework has been associated with serious injury or death. Even sparklers, which many parents consider to be relatively harmless, have tips that burn at more than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, five states -- Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island -- have banned outright all public access to fireworks.

As it stands, the current policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states, "Fireworks for individual private use should be banned. Children and their families should be encouraged to enjoy fireworks displays conducted by professionals rather than purchase fireworks for home or private use."

Check out these safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

• Do not use consumer fireworks.

• The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.

• After the fireworks display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be leftover -- they may still be active.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

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