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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 11:48pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Millions of Americans across the country celebrate Independence Day each year with a bang - and while shooting off fireworks is part of the fun, officials stress safety to avoid mishaps.
Officials say the safest way to enjoy 4th of July fireworks is to attend a professional fireworks show.
But if you plan on lighting fireworks yourself, here's some tips on how to do it safely.
You should always buy fireworks from an authorized retailer so you know the product is legal for purchase.
Before lighting fireworks, read the safety tips on the packaging.
Fireworks should only be used on a hard surface, outdoors, in an area away from trees or brush, with a water source nearby.
Never let young children handle fireworks.
Experts say most injuries happen to kids under 15 years old, on the hands, face, and eyes.
If you do get burned, keep the burn clean and seek medical attention immediately.
One local expert says there's nothing wrong with treating a minor burn yourself with over the counter creams, but he doesn't recommend it.
"My recommendation is always seek medical attention because even with minor injuries, you never know the extent of the injury. What seems small, it may not be small. It may be a third degree burn," said Dr. Rogelio Castañeda.
"Injuries, burns to the hands are very delicate, just as much as the eyes. Just because you have done it before doesn't mean that you are not at risk. Always follow the laws, follow the regulations, and use common sense."
Dr. Castañeda says it isn't uncommon for people to let young children play with sparklers, but he says those can get hot really quickly, and burn your child's hand before they know it.
Experts recommend you know and follow the rules for fireworks use in your city to avoid being cited.