News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Recommends Families Leave Fireworks to the Professionals for the Fourth of July Holiday

Half of the nation’s fireworks-related injuries this year will occur over the next few weeks and half of those injured will be children.

Nationwide, officials estimate more than 8,800 individuals were treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks in 2002, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. One-half of all victims were children under 15, and a majority of the injuries occurred around the home. Already this year, several patients have been admitted to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with injuries from fireworks. From 1997 through 2002, 15 patients were admitted to Children’s Hospital due to fireworks-related injuries.

“Each year we treat severe injuries to children who mishandle fireworks or try to use defective fireworks. Their injuries include loss of hearing or eyesight, amputations of fingers and limbs, and severe burns to the hands and face,” said Barbara Gaines, MD, co-director of the Benedum Trauma Program at Children’s. “Families should leave fireworks to professionals so they can safely enjoy the display.”

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.

Safety Tips

  • 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 Injury Prevention Web site at Click on Injury Prevention, “For Parents,” then Holiday & Seasonal and finally, Fireworks, to find more information on fireworks safety precautions.

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

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008