According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 10,800 people were treated in U.S. emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in 2005, with most to the hands and fingers, eyes and the head and face. About 45 percent those injured from fireworks in 2005 were children 14 and under.

Fireworks can be spectacular in the hands of trained professionals, but fireworks can also cause catastrophic injuries. Residents should enjoy the holiday-related firework shows, not spend time at emergency rooms or with life-altering injuries.

“Even sparklers present a danger. These items, which can burn at a temperature of 800 degrees, often seem harmless but in reality they are very dangerous, especially in the hands of a child,” said Dr. David Goldwag, director of the Emergency Department at Westchester Medical Center. “More than half of the fireworks injuries seen nationwide involving children are burns.”

All fireworks are illegal in New York State, except in the hands of licensed pyrotechnics professionals. To protect yourself and your family this summer, attend a public fireworks display in your community or at a county park.

When you go, remember these tips:

  • Do not go near the firing site.
  • Tell your children not to pick up any fireworks left over from a show. Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to immediately explode or discharge can cause injury because they may still be active.
  • Don’t bring your pets. Loud noises can scare animals.