Keep safety in mind when celebrating July Fourth

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Even poppers and sparklers can pose hazards to children, doctors warn. (KABC)

Los Angeles area emergency rooms are gearing up for fireworks-related injuries.

Illegal fireworks are always an issue, but doctors warn most accidents happen with store-bought items.

Poppers, bottle rockets and sparklers look like harmless fun until they get too close to little fingers and faces.

Tracie Gipson, a Woodland Hills mother of two, doesn't let her sons handle pop-its or any other fireworks, but she knows other kids have them.

"Nervous, really nervous," she said. "I'm afraid other kids might get excited and throw them at each other."

Every Fourth of July, Dr. Matthew Melchione at Dignity Health Northridge Family Medicine treats many patients with fireworks-related injuries.

"They can cause some pretty severe burns depending how long the flame or the spark is on the skin," he said.

He said a common injury cause is people trying to stamp out fires.

"I would always have a hose nearby. Always have a source of adequate water flow supply. Again, a garden hose is very good," said Melchione.

He recommends people who light or handle flammable devices wear clear goggles.

Sparklers account for most injuries. Melchione said don't let kids hold them.

"This can pose a serious risk to the eyes and other sensitive areas," he said.

And what about those fireworks that don't go off and you think they're a dud?

"I would recommend to never re-light it," Melchione said. "And I would leave it alone for about 20 minutes or until it's deemed safe to put in a bucket of water."

If you do get a burn, doctors say rinse with warm water, keep it clean and get to an urgent care or emergency room.

Tracie prefers not to play with fire at all.

"Why light something on fire when you can go to a fireworks show and just know that you're safe," she said. "We're in LA. There are so many shows."

The Fourth of July is a special celebration for many families, so you don't want to spend it hurt in a hospital.

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healthjuly 4thfire safetysafetyfireworksLos Angeles County
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