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BURNET — With the celebration of our nation July 4 comes good food, family, friends and, of course, fireworks. Each year, festivities are cut short by mishaps resulting in burns, loss of eyesight and other injuries from fireworks.

The safest way to prevent related injuries is to leave fireworks to trained professionals.

According to the Texas Trauma Coordinators Forum, almost half of people injured by fireworks each year are children younger than 14. Injuries most frequently involve burns to the hands, fingers, head and face, and contusions and lacerations to and foreign objects embedded in the eyes, potentially leading to loss of vision.

Taking simple precautions and using a little common sense can go a long way in preventing these injuries.

To help you celebrate safely, the Texas Trauma Coordinators Forum offers the following safety tips.

• Always have water handy, either a bucket or a water hose.

• A responsible adult should supervise all fireworks activities.

• Never give fireworks to young children.

• Only use fireworks outside.

• Only use fireworks as intended; don’t try to alter or combine them.

• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”

• Only persons older than 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.

• Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.

• Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.

• Always remain standing while using sparklers.

• Sparklers and bare feet can be very painful. Wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers

• Sparkler wire remains hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparkler directly in a bucket of water.

• Never throw sparklers.

• Never experiment or make your own fireworks.

• Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

• Never have any part of the body over the firework.

• Never ignite aerial fireworks near or below a tree, overhead wires, or anything that might obstruct the flight.

• Don’t light flying fireworks if there is a heavy wind.

• Never ignite aerial fireworks near an opening such as doors or windows.

• Observe local laws and use common sense.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them in metal or glass containers.

• Always purchase fireworks from reliable sources.

• Loose clothing can very easily catch fire and should not be worn near fireworks.

• Light the tip of each firework at arm’s length. If one doesn’t go off, don’t go back to it – it could still be live and go off unexpectedly.

Brown is the emergency room trauma coordinator and a registered nurse at Seton Highland Lakes in Burnet. The Texas Trauma Coordinators Forum is a group of registered nurses employed at designated trauma centers across Texas.