Consumer Product Safety Commission advises people to be cautious with fireworks

Fireworks killed 4, injured 11,100 last year

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning people celebrating the Fourth of July to be extra cautious when using fireworks. 

Using an explosive demonstration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission blew up watermelons and mannequins as a reminder to be careful during the holiday.

Last year, fireworks incidents killed four people and sent 11,100 more to emergency rooms around the country.

"Probably the most common injuries we see are sparkler burns to the fingers and then facial burns," said Dr. Kris Rittichier, chief of emergency services at The Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

Even though use of fireworks is illegal in the city limits, Rittichier said the hospital prepares for the inevitable mishaps.

"We often will see the older kids with bottle rockets, as well, that either burn their fingers or actually shoot off and burn them or hurt them by hitting them," she said.

Nationally, it's young adults ages 20 to 24 who suffer the most injuries, whether from misuse or malfunctions. Young children under the age of 5 are the second-most injured age group.

Sparklers can be deceptive. Approximately 900 people went to emergency rooms for sparkler injuries last year.

It's the commercial grade products that can cause the most damage. The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises consumers to steer clear of fireworks in brown paper packaging because those are likely commercial grade and much more powerful.

To avoid injuries, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said to not let children handle any type of fireworks, keep a water supply handy, use fireworks only where legal, use them away from grass and buildings and never try to relight a dud.

The city and San Antonio Fire Department want to remind residents that popping fireworks within city limits is illegal and can result in a Class C misdemeanor, which can carry a fine of up to $2,000.

The Fire Department will have a hotline open to take calls about illegal firework use within the city. Lines will be open from 7 p.m. to midnight on July 4. The number to call is 210-207-0202.



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