County Health Dept. Issues July 4th Fireworks Warning

Greater Injury Risk to Young Children, Even From Sparklers

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department is cautioning residents that using fireworks, even those allowed by law, is potentially dangerous and can cause serious injuries that result in permanent disability.

Health officials say that the safest way to enjoy fireworks for the upcoming July 4th holiday is to keep them out of the hands of amateurs, especially children, and to leave the displays to trained professionals.

Firecrackers, which are illegal in Pennsylvania, are responsible for the greatest number of injuries.  Sparklers, though permitted under state law but banned in certain municipalities, account for one-third of fireworks injuries to children.

When fireworks allowed by law are used by children, they should be very carefully monitored and supervised by responsible adults who are unimpaired by drugs or alcohol.

The risk to children is highlighted by the fact those ages 10 to 14 are two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer fireworks injuries than the general population.

More than half of fireworks injuries are caused by burns, and injuries to parts of the body such as the head, face, eyes and ears are common.  These injuries can lead to third-degree burns, permanent scarring and blindness.

Children should especially stay away from illegal fireworks and should not pick up so-called “duds” or unexploded fireworks since these may still be active. 

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