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      Fireworks Warnings

      Their bright, colorful packaging and often can TMt beat prices, make them hard to resist, especially during this time of year when many will be lighting them up to welcome the new year. However, medical professionals said parents need to keep in mind that fireworks are not toys, and they must be aware of the dangers.

      A boy in Brownsville was rushed to the hospital this week after a firework exploded near his eye. Rosie Mascorro, fireworks attendant at a fireworks stand on FM 511 in Brownsville, said they also take precautions to warn parents.

      "We normally judge the people when they come with their kids and see if it's a small kid or an older kid, Mascorro said, and depending on what we see, is what we offer. We do have packs that are for small kids."

      It's also their policy not to sell any fireworks to kids under 16 years old, who are not accompanied by their parents. Mascorro said they know their products and give customers the advice they need, but ultimately it's the customer to chose what's best for them.

      "We do explain to them, for example, if they get something to big, (that they TMre) going to have to be the one responsible for turning it on because (their child) is too small for it, Mascorro said. But it's up to them what they end up doing."

      According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year there were 9,600 fire-work related injuries. Twenty-six percent of those were injuries to children, and 36 percent of hospital-treated injuries were people under 20 years old. Four men, ranging in ages 31 to 51, died. Mascorro said, so far this season, it seems customers are listening to the warnings.

      "We've had customers where they come and (look for) something, (and when) we let them know what it does, they TMre like, ~you know what, that's too big, let TMs get something smaller. There is currently no burn or fireworks ban in Cameron County, but popping fireworks is illegal within city limits.