The Consumer Product Safety Commission blew up turkeys, watermelons and plastic dolls Tuesday to dramatize the danger of fireworks used on the most explosive day of the year - Fourth of July.
Dressed in a white coat and face mask, a commission scientist ignited a round of fireworks near the Washington Monument to simulate some of the mishaps that can occur when explosives are used improperly by children as well as adults.More than 9,000 people sustained injuries last year from fireworks, and many of those accidents could be traced to overloaded firecrackers, explosives with short fuses and fireworks with unstable bases, the commission said.
The commission also warned Americans of the dangers related to the seemingly harmless sparklers many children use on Independence Day and ignited a doll's dress with a sparkler to make the point.
To demonstrate the explosive power of illegal fireworks such as M-80 and M-100 salutes, the commission flattened turkey carcasses and watermelons with the illicit devices.
"We're trying to make sure that you spend the holiday with your family rather than in a hospital emergency room," said Terrence Scanlon, chairman of the commission.
Scanlon recommended parents forbid young children from playing with fireworks. He also suggested people keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies, clear the area before igniting the fireworks and store the explosives in a dry, cool place.