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Emergency Rooms Gear Up For Fourth of July Injuries

Chloe O'Neill

An estimated 5,600 fireworks-related injuries were severe enough to need a  hospital emergency room last summer—that’s according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Hospitals in the area gear up each year for injuries, many of which are preventable.


Around 44% of injuries from fireworks are burns, and 28% of fireworks injuries are to the hands and fingers. 

And some are more severe, leading to the loss of fingers or eyes.

Dr. Sonia Gerlick works in the ER and Wound Care Services at Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains. She says about half of the fireworks-related injuries they see are in children and people under the age of 20. 

She said even seemingly harmless fireworks can cause injuries.

“Actually about 25% of the injuries we found are due to sparklers, because they burn up to 2,000 degrees and they seem like a very safe firework for children to use. But, they burn very hot, so they can be very dangerous,” Gerlick said. 

Other common injuries come from people lighting fireworks in their hands, being shot at with bottle rockets or attempting to retrieve fireworks that did not fully ignite.