As a public service, is presenting the substance of Tuesday’s special report from the CPSC with respect to the dangers of fireworks. We hope the information will help make this 4th of July holiday safer for all and especially for children and teenagers who are at the highest risk of injuries from these dangerous devices.

 “WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new study (pdf) by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff finds nearly 70 percent of all fireworks-related injuries take place around the 4th of July holiday. The study also found that more than 50 percent of those injuries occur to children and teenagers. The top three injury-causing fireworks are firecrackers, sparklers, and rockets. Those fireworks account for nearly half of all injuries.
To help reduce the number of fireworks-related injuries this summer, CPSC and federal law enforcement agencies are encouraging consumers to keep fireworks out of the hands of children, to safely use legal fireworks and never buy or use illegal fireworks.

CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton said parents often don’t realize that sparklers, for instance, burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. “The best way parents can keep their children safe this 4th of July is never allow young children to ignite or handle fireworks of any kind,” Stratton said. Children most often suffer burns, lacerations and eye injuries.

CPSC’s staff estimates that there were 9,600 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks in 2004. 6,600 of the injuries occurred in a single month (June 19 – July 19, 2004).

In addition to encouraging the safe use of legal consumer fireworks, the federal government is committed to stopping the manufacture and sale of illegal fireworks, which could prove to be deadly if used by consumers. CPSC is working to do its part to keep American families safe by enforcing fireworks regulations and by prosecuting dealers and distributors who manufacture and sell illegal explosives.

As a part of its fireworks enforcement program, CPSC actively works with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Through undercover buys, online purchases, inspections and investigations, CPSC and ATF are tracking down and closing illegal roadside stands, warehouses and retail stores that sell professional grade explosives to consumers, and homes that serve as havens for the manufacture of dangerous fireworks devices. CPSC also works with the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs & Border Protection to prevent millions of hazardous and illegal fireworks from entering U.S. ports and reaching consumers. For example, since 1988, CPSC and the Bureau of Customs & Border Protection have seized or detained nearly 460 million hazardous fireworks at docks across the country. The investigative work conducted by CPSC and ATF has led to dozens of successful prosecutions by the Justice Department’s Office of Consumer Litigation and U.S. Attorney’s offices across the country.

CPSC recommends following these fireworks safety tips:

•    Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
•    Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
•    Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
•    Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
•    Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
•    Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
•    Light one item at a time, then move back quickly.
•    Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them in metal or glass containers.”

Once again, we wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July and hope that all parents and those caring for children on this holiday follow the warnings and advice in the CPSC bulletin.

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