Despite what you might think, fireworks that pack the biggest boom don't always cause the most damage to people. In a study of fireworks injuries conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2011, officials found that more people reported being harmed by sparklers than any other type of popular fireworks sold legally in America.
Dr. Bernard Eichold, the Mobile County Health Department's Health Officer, urges residents to use extreme caution during the July 4th holiday weekend whether driving in traffic, enjoying an outside gathering where food is served or watching a public or private fireworks display.
"Please remember that children should never play with fireworks," Eichold said. "Firecrackers, rockets and sparklers are extremely dangerous. If you do give your child a sparkler, make sure they keep it outside and away from their face, clothing and hair."
Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees, Eichold said, which is hot enough to melt gold.
Here are some other facts compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission during a month-long study of fireworks injuries:
200 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
65% of these fireworks injuries in 2011 occurred during the month surrounding July 4th.
Illegal and homemade fireworks were involved in all four fireworks-related deaths reported to CPSC in 2011.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying our using them.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.