Westchester Medical Center Urges Fourth Of July Safety

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Dr. Joseph Turkowski, director of the Burn Center at Westchester Medical Center, urges people to stay safe for 4th of July.
Dr. Joseph Turkowski, director of the Burn Center at Westchester Medical Center, urges people to stay safe for 4th of July. Photo Credit: Westchester Medical Center

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester Medical Center reminds all New Yorkers that buying, selling or possessing any consumer fireworks is illegal in New York.

“Bottle rockets and other flying combustibles can fly in to peoples’ faces and ignite clothing, firecrackers can injure the hands or face and even damage hearing if they explode at close range,” said Dr. Joseph Turkowski, director of the Burn Center at Westchester Medical Center.

“Even sparklers present a serious danger. These items, which can burn at temperatures more than 1000 degrees, often seem harmless but in reality they are very dangerous, especially in the hands of a child.”

Each year in the United States, hundreds of adults and children are treated at hospitals for serious burns, amputations, eye injuries and disfigurement, all as a result of injuries sustained from the use of illegal fireworks.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission six people died as a result of illegal fireworks in the United States in 2012 (most recent data) and nearly 10,000 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries.

Injuries to children accounted for nearly 45 percent of the total fireworks-related injuries. About 50 percent of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were individuals younger than 20 years of age.

“These injuries most frequently involve the hands, fingers, eyes, head and face. More than half of the injuries are burns,” Dr. Turkowski said.

Stay safe by attending a professionally managed fireworks display, controlled by licensed pyrotechnical experts in your community.

Check with your local town hall, municipality or your local newspaper for the closest scheduled fireworks display.

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