updated 6/28/2005 6:43:09 AM ET 2005-06-28T10:43:09

Fireworks injuries keep emergency rooms busy around the Fourth of July, and the government is urging Americans to use caution and common sense this year to avoid injuries.

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According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report released Monday, eight people were killed by fireworks accidents last year. Emergency rooms around the country treated about 9,600 fireworks-related injuries in 2004 — 300 more than in 2003. Of those, 6,600 occurred in the monthlong period before and after the nation's birthday.

The CPSC report said 40 percent of injuries were suffered by children under 15.

"The best way parents can keep their children safe this Fourth of July is never allow young children to ignite or handle fireworks of any kind," CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton said in a statement.

Almost half the injuries came from garden variety fire crackers, sparklers and rockets. CPSC said ordinary sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — as hot as a soldering gun.

The report said males were three times more likely to be injured than females, and hands, eyes, and the head, face and ears were most vulnerable to damage. Almost two-thirds of injuries were burns, and some injuries required finger or hand amputations.

CPSC distributed these safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in the area before buying or using.
  • Adults should always supervise.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one item at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them in metal or glass containers.

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