Fireworks once were a summer thrill reserved for celebrating the 4th of July. Now they are a common sight and sound all season long, which means more people are (literally) playing with fire, putting their children and others at risk.

June 1 marks the beginning of National Fireworks Safety Month, which runs through July 4.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 230 people in the United States end up in the emergency department every day in the weeks before and after Independence Day. The CPSC reports that in 2016, at least four people died and about 11,100 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related accidents.

In addition, on a typical Independence Day, fireworks spark two out of five fires reported in the United States — more than any other cause of fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association. On average each year, fireworks start 18,500 fires and cause three deaths and 40 civilian injuries.

Local emergency department physicians have certainly seen their share of fireworks-related injuries.

Most common are burns on hands, the head, legs, and arms. These range from minor to severe, with some resulting in permanent scarring or loss of function. Explosive fireworks can also cause vision or hearing loss. The most severe firework injuries are amputations and other significant traumatic injuries, or even death.

Although making trails of light with dazzling sparklers can seem like simple fun, it does not mean they are safe. In fact, sparklers result in nearly a third of all fireworks-related injuries. Each of those bright showers of light can burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — about the same as the lava bursting from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

Children should never handle any fireworks, including sparklers. Though seemingly a festive, innocent toy, sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and cause serious burns, often when youngsters drop them on their feet. As a safe alternative, give kids some glow stick bracelets or necklaces or other novelty items that light up.

Looking for a safer way to enjoy the festivities? Attend a professional fireworks display. They are handled by professionals who are trained to work with pyrotechnics. These shows reduce the potential for serious injuries to amateur fireworks enthusiasts and to their friends and family members.

Keeping children safe is the top priority of the Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Adults should teach children how to call 911 in an emergency. Learn more safety tips by visiting the IPC resources page at Lifespan.org or call 401-444-2208.

Enjoy your summer and keep your family safe during this fireworks safety month.

Mark R. Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and injury prevention researcher affiliated with Rhode Island Hospital and its Hasbro Children’s Hospital.