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Fireworks led to over 5,000 ER visits around July 4 last year

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A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that over 5,000 people across the U.S. landed in the emergency room due to firework-induced injuries between June 22 and July 22 last year, with the majority landing in the days around Independence Day.

Nearly half of annual fireworks injuries are sustained by children and teenagers. Fully 10% of fireworks injuries each year occur in children ages 0-4. Another 10% of injuries are of children 5-9.

More than half of last year's fireworks-related injuries were burns to the hands, head and face. About 1,000 involved sparklers and bottle rockets.

The CPSC reported:

Follow-up investigations of incidents showed that most injuries were associated with malfunctioning fireworks or improper use. Malfunctioning fireworks often resulted in unexpected flight paths and dangerous debris. Improper use included igniting fireworks too close to someone, lighting fireworks in one’s hand and playing with lit or used fireworks. Most victims recovered from their injuries or were expected to recover completely; however, several victims reported that their injuries might be long term.

The report noted that sparklers are frequently handed to children because parents incorrectly believe them to be safe. However, they burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees -- hot enough to melt metal -- and can cause serious damage when handled improperly.

Find out how to keep your family safe when using fireworks at http://www.cpsc.gov/fireworks.

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