Md. girl suffers 2nd-degree burns from July 4 sparkler; DC hospital treats 8 for fireworks burns

WASHINGTON — An 11-year-old girl went to the emergency room on the Fourth of July after suffering second-degree burns from a sparkler, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said.

That was just one of a string of fireworks-related injuries reported in the D.C. area after the Fourth.

The girl’s parents took her to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center late Wednesday night after another child lit the sparkler near the girl, resulting in burns to the girl’s wrist and abdomen, officials said.

Fire officials said the girl’s parents bought the sparkler from a fireworks stand in the Glen Burnie area. Sparklers are legal in Anne Arundel County.

In D.C., MedStar Washington Hospital Center treated eight patients with fireworks-related burns, said Dr. Laura Johnson, a burn surgeon with the hospital’s burn center.

“I think that as we say every year, honestly, people need to leave fireworks in the hands of the professionals,” Johnson told WTOP. “It’s so tempting to grab some sparklers, grab some bottle rockets and try and set them off in the backyard, but … they’re not toys.”

Johnson said all third-degree burns will leave scarring after they’re healed, and some second-degree burns can as well. Sometimes that just means a bit of a pigment difference where the skin was burned.

“Sometimes it’s thick, raised, painful scar tissue that can form over the area that was injured,” Johnson said. “So we never really know when patients come into see us what kind of scar they’re going to form. But we tell them that pretty much their skin is never going to be the same again.”

Earlier this week, a 21-year-old Anne Arundel County man suffered what authorities called “catastrophic” hand injuries after a mortar tube exploded in his hand during a party.

Nationwide, there are about 2,000 to 3,000 fireworks-related injuries every year.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says sparklers are the No. 1 cause of fireworks-related injuries.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. 


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