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For Immediate Release

Fourth of July Celebrations Spark Concerns About Fireworks Injuries - Children's Hospital Experts Say Leave Them to the Professionals

Two-thirds of the nation's fireworks-related injuries will occur in the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July, and about half of those injuries will involve children under 15.

Between 2001 and 2005, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh admitted 20 patients with fireworks-related injuries. The most common injuries seen involving fireworks include upper limb injuries and amputations, severe burns, head and eye injuries and contusions.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that there were 9,600 injuries treated involving fireworks in 2004, the most recent statistics available. Two-thirds of these injuries occurred between June 19 and July 19, 2004, and eight injuries resulted in death. The number of injuries nationwide has been on the rise since 2002. Males account for about 75 percent of all fireworks-related injuries every year. About one-third of all fireworks injuries involve illegal and homemade explosives.

"Children should never be allowed to play with fireworks and should always be supervised when around them," said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children's. "Ultimately, fireworks displays should be left to the professionals."

Although state laws involving fireworks were amended in November 2004, making it legal to sell and buy certain types of novelty items such as sparklers and paper caps, all fireworks, including these items, are illegal in Pittsburgh. While many people think of sparklers as a safe type of firework, they burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily burn children and ignite clothing.

Children's offers safety tips for areas where fireworks are legal:
. Children should never light fireworks. Adult supervision is essential.
. Keep bystanders at a distance and allow no horseplay.
. Carefully read all instructions before lighting fireworks.
. Never light fireworks in a container.
. Malfunctioning fireworks should be soaked in water. Never re-light or handle.
. Keep all flammable liquids away from fireworks.
. Keep a bucket of water nearby in the event of an emergency.

Even with following these safety tips, the best way to stay safe around fireworks is to leave the fireworks display to the professionals. For more information and safety tips, visit

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 15, 2008
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Last Update
February 15, 2008