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Keeping your family safe on Independence Day



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SALT LAKE CITY -- This Fourth of July holiday, industry groups are going head-to-head on fireworks safety. Their recommendations couldn't be more different on how to celebrate and help your family Stay Safe.

A little backyard bash is part of the Independence Day celebration experience. The American Pyrotechnics Association released new statistics that show while use of fireworks has doubled over the past 15 years, injuries have decreased.

**Fireworks safety tips**
• Use fireworks outdoors only. • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them. • Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket). • Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them. • Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. • Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses. • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated shooter." • Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type. • Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community. -*The National Council on Fireworks Safety*
That message contradicts new recommendations from the medical industry. "The American Academy of pediatrics recommends that children never use home fireworks," explained Dr. Charles Pruitt, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Primary Children's Medical Center.

Emergency room doctors cite 10,000 firework-related injuries each year, half of them in children. And they're not alone.

A public service announcement from the National Fire Protection Association demonstrates injuries and millions in fire damages that make the risks of personal fireworks too high.

Different conclusions, but they agree on where the real decision and responsibility lies.

"As parents, we're the ones who've gotta govern that control of something safe for kids," Witter said.

"You decide. Don't let an industry group tell you how to take care of your children. You decide what's safe for your children," Pruitt said.

To help parents make that call, here are a few links from the pyrotechnics industry and an alliance aimed at stopping consumer fireworks altogether:

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

Nadine Wimmer

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