July 4th is on Thursday and millions will be celebrating with fireworks. But safety experts are reminding people how dangerous they can be. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 9,100 people went to the emergency room with injuries and at least five people died last year.
It’s not just large explosions that are dangerous, sparklers can reach 2,000 degrees and are able to burn the skin and tissue down to the bone.
Dr. Sarah Combs from the Children’s National Medical Center says, “more than half of all fireworks injury happened while adequate and direct parent supervision present.”
Dry weather in many parts of the country also has officials warning of another 4th of July danger, the high risk of fire. Crews in Northern California did a demonstration to show how quickly a small sparkler can lead to a large fire. It spread in just seconds and a truck was brought in to put it out.
Safety experts say the best advice is to use common sense. Avoid illegal fireworks and watch out for products that have been recalled. Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, says “If you try to ignite a firework and it doesn’t ignite, discard it, don’t try to reignite it.” She adds, “If you’re going to use fireworks have a bucket of water or a hose handy and most importantly don’t give fireworks to children.”
It’s also important to leave professional grade fireworks to the professionals. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says there have been at least 121 fireworks related deaths since 2003.