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SUNDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Fireworks add sparkle to Independence Day festivities but they need to be handled with care -- and by adults, a prominent group of U.S. surgeons says.
"Many people consider consumer fireworks to be harmless fun, when in fact they can be extremely dangerous, especially when used by or near children and adolescents," Boston orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tamara Rozental, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said in an academy news release.
"If caution is not used and safety guidelines are not adhered to, fireworks can cause serious injuries to the hands and fingers as well as the eyes," Rozental said.
Americans bought more than 212 million pounds of fireworks in 2011, compared with 184 million pounds in 2010, the American Pyrotechnics Association says. In 2012, there were more than 18,700 injuries caused by fireworks, including more than 7,300 emergency department visits, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The CPSC also says that 36 percent of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries in 2011 involved people younger than age 20. The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (46 percent of injuries); eyes (17 percent); head, face and ears (17 percent); and legs (11 percent). Burns accounted for more than half of the emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries. There were 1,100 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 300 with bottle rockets.
The following fireworks safety tips come from the orthopedic surgeons:
The Nemours Foundation offers fireworks safety tips for parents.