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Columbus, Ohio


Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.


Backyard Fireworks Aren't Worth the Risk

End Injury


I will never again take the risk of watching a backyard fireworks display.

About 10 years ago, my neighbor eagerly showed me his stash of fireworks (illegal to launch in our state, by the way) that he was going to set off behind his house on the Fourth of July. He invited my husband and me over to watch. I have always been uneasy around fireworks, but my husband convinced me to go, saying that I could just sit close to the house, far away from where the fireworks would be launched.

"Far away" is a generous term: the small crowd of 25 people was probably only a few dozen yards from the launch site. The fireworks had been placed on a board and linked together so they would fire one after the other over the fence and into the neighboring church's parking lot. As the time to launch approached, I got more and more nervous. What if the wind blew the wrong direction or one of them exploded before it launched? But before I could change my mind, our neighbor lit the fuse. Everyone ooohed and ahhhed as the first five fireworks lit up the sky above us.

There was no way to avoid the firework’s explosion; we all just got really, really lucky.

Then my worst fears were confirmed. The second-to-last firework was so powerful that it knocked over the launcher when it blasted off, causing the last (and biggest) firework to point toward the chain link fence at the back of the yard. The firework launched directly into the fence and got stuck there. I jumped out of my chair and crouched behind it, thinking that if the firework did explode, I would have a little protection from the chair.

Sure enough, it went off, showering the yard with sparks and bits of flaming material. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it was easy to see how someone could have been seriously burned. There was no way to avoid the firework's explosion; we all just got really, really lucky. (And of course I had to get in an "I told you so" to my husband.)

As my experience shows, there is no safe way to use or view backyard fireworks. Instead, leave the entertainment to the professionals and find a public display to enjoy. Backyard fireworks just aren't worth the risk.

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