After NJ legalizes firecrackers, experts still urge fireworks safety
The fireworks safety issue emerges each year around the Fourth of July.
The law has been changed this year in New Jersey to allow for the sale and possession of sparklers and non-aerial novelty fireworks. But safety experts still take a dim view.
The state's total fireworks ban was amended this week to allow for the sparklers so that revenue from their sale would not wind up going to other states.
The news release that accompanied the signing of the bill by Gov. Chris Christie also said:
"Equally important, all other fireworks will remain illegal in the state under the new legislation, including all explosive and aerial fireworks such as firecrackers, sky rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles and similar devices."
Becky Turpin, director of home and community safety for The National Safety Council, says even sparklers can be a hazard. She says just because they are legal does not make them safe.
"We think about how we would never let our kids handle, say, matches, or pull a cake out of the oven at just 350 degrees, but we are going to give them a fire on a stick that is 2,000 degrees."
And the ban continues in New Jersey for the more serious varieties of fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that there were four fireworks-related deaths last year, and more than 11,000 injuries treated in ERs.
Turpin adds, "I think that the most staggering part of that information is that 68 percent of those injuries occurred between June 18 and July 18. In just a one-month period, 7,600 injuries."
"I think that the point about the 4th of July is ... it is about our community, it is about our families, and there is really no reason not to think about each other's safety first and make sure that it is a fun memory in the end instead of a horrible consequence that we have to live with for the rest of our lives."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.