Fireworks shows, especially on the Fourth of July, are a tradition loved by many Americans.
But too often, those who decide to stage their own pyrotechnics displays hear not the "oohs" and "ahhs" common at professional shows - but screams of pain.
Big, powerful skyrockets and shatteringly forceful "firecrackers" are available to anyone who can pay for them in both our states, despite laws intended to restrict their sales. During recent years, traffic in dangerous explosive devices seems to have increased.
Non-professionals all too often ignore the precautions necessary to handle such fireworks safely. That results in hundreds of injuries, many of them disfiguring or crippling victims, every year, with most of them coming during the Independence Day holiday period.
If you think you must "shoot off" your own fireworks this week, we urge you to follow all of the safety precautions manufacturers recommend, as well as others dictated by simple common sense.
One key precaution is to keep any fireworks - even legal devices such as sparklers - away from youngsters. It takes just a split second for a child, unaware of the danger, to be burned horribly or to lose an eye, a hand or a life.
Better yet, leave the pyrotechnics to the pros. Excellent fireworks shows are scheduled throughout the Ohio Valley this week. Why not take advantage of one or more of them to enjoy a pyrotechnics display in safety?
Happy Fourth of July!