Safety experts urge caution this July 4th - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Safety experts urge caution this July 4th


IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Many will go to local stores, even out-of-state, to get their fireworks fix this Fourth of July. But only certain types are legal in Iowa, and even those can be dangerous.

Every year, safety experts warn people about the dangers of fireworks. Still, thousands of people will go to emergency rooms this year because of them.

"Most of them will be moderate to severe burns," said Doctor Jerry Browne, at the Iowa City Mercy Hospital.

In his 15 years working in emergency rooms, Dr. Browne has seen a wide array of fireworks-related injuries.

"Probably the worst injury I've seen is where somebody actually had an explosive device go off in their face, and severely injured their eyes."

He says sometimes people will even lose fingers, as a result of holding onto firecrackers when they explode. But under Iowa law, retailers are allowed to put only a couple types of fireworks on their shelves.

Sparklers are one of them, and cause the most injuries, according to Iowa City Fire Marshal John Grier.

"Most of the injuries are burns; 49 percent are burns, followed by lacerations and contusions."

Grier says children ages 5 to 14 are the most likely to be injured by fireworks, so parental supervision is key.

"Don't wear loose clothing, because they give off sparks, you don't want to be near dry grass or dry combustible material. Have a water supply nearby, and I think the other big thing is when you get around crowds, be aware of other people."

Sparklers and snakes are still the only firecrackers legal in Iowa. Ones that explode or shoot into the air, such as roman candles and bottle rockets, are off-limits.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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