With the dry spring and summer Texas has been experiencing until last weekend considerable emphasis has been given to the importance of using fireworks in a manner that would prevent grass fires. Now that the ground has been doused, at least for a while, consumers can focus on another equally important safety matter.

According to the most recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11 people died and an estimated 9,200 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States in 2006. An estimated 5 percent of fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency departments required hospitalization.

More than two-thirds of all fireworks-related injuries in 2006 occurred between June 16 and July 16. One out of every three people injured were children under 15 years of age. The body parts most often injured were hands (2,300 injuries), eyes (1,500 injuries), and the head, face, and ear (1,400 injuries). More than half of the injuries were burns.

The best way to avoid such injuries is to leave the fireworks chores to an experienced adult, or to simply enjoy one of several outstanding professional displays scheduled this weekend in the area. But however you plan to celebrate the Fourth, a little bit of caution will help ensure a much more enjoyable holiday.

Brownwood Bulletin