Fireworks were invented more than 2,000 years ago and were originally used to scare off mountain men.

4th of July fireworks injuries send thousands to ER every year; 36% of injured are children

The Fourth of July holiday is generally a fun time for Americans as they celebrate the country’s birthday, but if you’re one of the thousands injured every year in fireworks accidents, the holiday can quickly turn into a nightmare.

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Every year, thousands of people are admitted to hospital emergency rooms with fireworks-related injuries, and almost half of those are burns, according to a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In the two weeks before and after the Fourth of July last year, 5,600 people were treated in emergency rooms for pyrotechnic injuries -- 36% of them were children under 15, the CPSC said, and half of all injuries occurred in those under 20.

More than 1,000 people were injured in firecracker accidents, the agency reported but sparklers accounted for a large number of injuries in children.

Hands and fingers sustained the largest number of injuries at 28%, followed by legs at 24%, then eye injuries at 19%.

“One in seven injuries from fireworks is to the eye and at least a quarter of those can cause permanent vision loss. People can lose their finger, clothing can ignite,” Dr. Samir Doshi, with St. Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Missouri, told KMBC-TV.

Parents don’t realize that sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, hot enough to burn metal, the CPSC said.

“You would not give your kid a blowtorch, so I don't think I would recommend you give your kid a sparkler either," Doshi said.

But the CPSC does offer tips on how to safely enjoy fireworks over the 4th:

  • Don’t allow young children to play with or set off fireworks
  • Make sure adults supervise family firework displays
  • Always make sure you’re a safe distance away after lighting a firework 
  • Don’t try to relight or pick up a firework that did not ignite 
  • Don’t point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Keep a bucket of water handy, in case of fire or an accident
  • Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper because it’s a sign they were made for professional displays
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your state before buying them

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