Throughout Minnesota, Independence Day celebrations are taking off this week. So may hospital admissions of people injured by fireworks.
Communities and organizations throughout the the state will provide professional fireworks shows for the Fourth of July. Beautiful, impressive pyrotechnics can be seen - and heard - by anyone in our area. (Yes, we know, we all wish New Ulm was one of those communities.?Maybe someday...)
Yet thousands of people will buy their own fireworks, ranging from legal sparklers to large, illegal firecrackers and rockets. Because explosives are being handled by people who are not accustomed to doing so - and who sometimes take risks to show off or because they are intoxicated - it is probable accidents will occur in our area. We hope and pray none results in serious injuries.
Each year, many Americans are hurt badly - and a few are killed - by fireworks. About 8,800 people a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries caused by fireworks. That works out to an average of about one and a half injuries for each hospital in the country.
There are no safe fireworks, though a few types, such as sparklers, are legal. Of an average year's injuries, more than 1,000 are burns from sparklers.
Even those who sell illegal pyrotechnics warn they should be used only by adults. Yet many children are among those requiring hospital treatment for injuries. Thirty-nine percent of those hurt in fireworks accidents in 2009 were under 15 years of age.
Beginning to get the idea? Leave the fireworks to professionals this extended Fourth of July holiday. Please, don't risk hurting yourself or your loved ones.