2008-07-04 / Top Stories

Senator Smith:

Think Twice Before Shooting Off Fireworks

While Fourth of July festivities and fireworks would seem to go hand in hand, Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) today reminded residents consumer use of fireworks is illegal in New York State. The safest way to enjoy fireworks, he said, is through public displays conducted by trained professionals.

"Fireworks can be fascinating for people of all ages, but the truth is, many New Yorkers don't realize how dangerous they can be, even sparklers," Smith said, "No parent or child should have to learn about the intrinsic dangers of fireworks in a painful way," he said.

According to the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), thousands of people are treated in emergency rooms for fireworksrelated injuries, many of which are children under the age of 15. The most common injuries affect the hands and fingers, eyes, face, and head. Over half of the injuries are burns.

Smith noted that fireworksrelated injuries can be serious, leading to third degree burns, blindness, and permanent scarring. Fireworks may also cause residential and motor vehicle fires.

"Children get excited around fireworks, and their natural curiosity can increase their chance of getting hurt," the Queens lawmaker added. "While some parents assume, for instance, that sparklers are relatively harmless, their temperatures can actually read more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They're not toys."

OFPC states that sparklers were associated with more than half of the estimated injuries for children under five years of age.

"Fireworks are exciting to watch, but they can lead to severe injuries," Senator Smith concluded. "This summer season, especially on our nation's birthday, let's make safety a top priority. Don't let children play with fireworks."

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