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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Fireworks Spark Safety Concerns this Summer Season for Physicians at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Two-thirds of the estimated 9,000 fireworks injuries that occur each year in the United States will happen over the next month, and half of those injuries will be to children under the age of 15.

Because children are vulnerable during the summer months, especially around the Fourth of July holiday, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh physicians are urging parents and kids to leave the fireworks to the professionals.

"The devastating fact is that often, we're talking about permanent, disfiguring injuries such as the loss of a finger or limb," said Barbara Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Trauma Program at Children's. "It only takes a split second for a healthy child to suffer a lifelong disability because of a firework."

Typical injuries from fireworks include severe burns to the face and hands, as well as permanent loss of eyesight, hearing or limbs. The only safe way to enjoy fireworks is to attend public events where professionals control the fireworks.

All fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal in Pittsburgh. Many think of sparklers as a safe type of firework, when in fact sparklers burn at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and may burn a child or ignite clothing.

Children's offers the following safety tips in areas where fireworks are legal:

  • Children should never light fireworks. Adult supervision is essential.
  • Allow no horseplay and keep bystanders at a safe distance.
  • Carefully read all instructions before lighting fireworks.
  • Fireworks should never be lit in a container.
  • Malfunctioning fireworks should be soaked in water. Do not re-light or handle.
  • Flammable liquids must be kept away from fireworks.
  • Fireworks must be lit outdoors by trained professionals.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of emergency.

For more safety tips visit Children's Web site at

Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008