Play it safe this holiday season

The Fourth of July is usually a time to celebrate with family picnics and get-togethers, sometimes accompanied by a few bangs and booms.

The best advice about fireworks is to leave them to a professional.

Thousands of people are taken to the emergency room every year for treatment of fireworks injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of all fireworks-related injuries every year occur between about three weeks before and after the Fourth of July. Young people under 20 years old accounted for about one-half of all injuries.

Most of the fireworks injuries were to the hand, eyes, head and ears. More than half of the injuries were burns.

It is legal to purchase fireworks in Ohio, but the buyer must agree and sign a form that they will take the fireworks out of state within a 48-hour period.

It’s a first-degree misdemeanor to falsify the address on the form. The law is almost impossible to enforce.

It’s also a first-degree misdemeanor to discharge the fireworks in Ohio. First-time offenders can be sentenced up to six months in jail and fined up to $1,000.

It is illegal to possess and set off fireworks in West Virginia unless licensed. That includes firecrackers and the ever-popular bottle rocket. Bottle rockets have been known to cause house fires if the bottle rockets land on a roof or on dry vegetation around the home.

Even novelty items, such as sparklers, which are allowed in most locations, can cause injuries.

Sparklers burn at more than 1,000 degrees and can cause clothing to ignite and burns to the skin.

Children are excited and curious about fireworks, which can lead to serious injuries.

There are many public fireworks displays to choose from in the area.

This year, leave the booms and bangs to a professional and don’t risk the consequences of setting off fireworks in your backyard.