Common sense can prevent fireworks injuries - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Common sense can prevent fireworks injuries

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WARWICK, R.I. -

Fireworks stands are a common sight this close to the Fourth of July.

"We've been working with TNT, my family has for about 15 years," said Heidi McLaughlin, who loves fireworks and the fact that selling them means more money for her family.

But McLaughlin also knows first-hand how dangerous they can be if people aren't careful. She knew someone killed using fireworks years ago.

"They were in the woods and I think they were the mortar ones that shoot up in the air. The thing had tipped the wrong way, and it got him right in the stomach," McLaughlin said.

Dr. Dina Morrissey of Rhode Island Hospital said injuries and death are common.

"In 2013, there were over 11,000 injuries due to fireworks and actually eight deaths," she said.

Those are national statistics, but Morrissey said Rhode Island sees its fair share. Unfortunately, many of the injured are children.

The biggest culprit is the sparkler.

"People don't realize that they can get up to 2,000 degrees. So, they're very hot and actually about one-third of the injuries that come into the emergency department every year around this time are from burns from sparklers. So, really young children should not be holding onto sparklers," Morrissey said.

The McLaughlin family just lets dad handle the fireworks.

But experts said adults should make sure they're not drinking and that they should never try to light a firework more than once.

"You never want to relight it because it could just explode while you're trying to relight it," Morrissey said.

It's also a good idea to protect your eyes with goggles.

"It's just very important that you read all instructions that are on the product itself and stay clear as the product is going off," McLaughlin said.

Following a few rules can potentially avoid a tragedy.

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