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Millions of Americans enjoyed fireworks displays yesterday. But I suspect that some families today are struggling with the aftermath of injuries from fireworks. It’s not just those foolish enough to buy and use these products themselves. It’s the danger of fireworks to bystanders that gives cause for concern. Bystanders are more often injured by fireworks than operators themselves. A serious fireworks accident in Virginia, with nine victims, has been reported.

The statistics tell the story of the dangers from fireworks. Almost 50 people died from fireworks-related injuries between 2000 and 2006, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and 11 deaths were associated with fireworks last year.

What can we do to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from fireworks? The Medical College of Wisconsin has published the following tips and facts to enhance fireworks safety:

• Attend only professional fireworks displays. Don�t ever let your children play with fireworks of any kind.
• All fireworks are dangerous. Firecrackers, bottle rockets, sparklers and Roman candles account for most firework injuries.
• Protect children. Don’t entertain the family with fireworks. Forty percent of those injured last year were under the age of 14, and many of them were bystanders.
• 30% of the injuries that occurred last year involved burns to hands, wrists and arms, and 20% of injuries were to the eyes.
• 10% of children injured by fireworks suffer permanent damage, such as the loss of an eye, a finger or a hand.
• Sparklers burn as hot as 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt gold. For children under the age of five, sparklers account for three-quarters of all fireworks injuries.
• Legal fireworks carry the name of the manufacturer, the words “Class C Common Fireworks,” and a warning label. If these are missing, you should consider them illegal and extremely unsafe.
• If you find unexploded fireworks, don’t touch them. Contact your local fire or police department immediately.

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to Defective and Dangerous Products.

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