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Staying Safe When Using Sparklers and Snakes

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/FOX 28)--ven though the local fireworks displays are put on by professionals, thousands of families will also celebrate on their own with sparklers and snakes, but even these smaller fireworks can lead to injuries.

You see them every fourth of July: fireworks, and while some just like watching others, especially kids like to do.

"Fireworks are best left to a professional pyro technician,” said Cedar Rapids fire PIO Greg Beulow.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, of the almost 18,000 fires in 2011, nearly half of them occurred on the fourth of July.

Of the more than 9,000 fireworks related injuries each year, more than a third are children and teens that end up in the emergency room.

"We actually start seeing injuries from fireworks before the actually holiday comes around. Usually within two to three weeks of the holiday,” said St. Luke’s emergency physician Dr. Thomas Striagel.

Only caps, sparklers and snakes are legal in Iowa, but even they are dangerous.

The tip burns at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit which is enough to actually burn some metals.

In 2012 more than 1,200 small children ended up in the emergency room from a miss-used sparkler.

"They can either get hurt or step on them and get burned,” Beulow said.

The body parts at greatest risk are the fingers, eyes, and face which is doctors say play it safe.

 “Even if it doesn't look very large, it can still have long term consequences,” Striagel said.

That's why doctors and firefighters say it's better to attend professional firework displays.

For those going to one of the big city displays in the coming nights they also ask that sparklers be left at home. 

There’s too great a risk of the sparks burning someone in the crowd.

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