Family asks others to be careful with fireworks after 9-year-old's bad injury

As families are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, one family is asking people to be careful.

As families are getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, one family is asking people to be careful.
Their daughter received second- and third-degree burns from a firework that exploded. Her treatment lasted nearly a year.

When you first meet her, you see a big sister and a brave daughter.

"You got surgery on your knee," said Hailey Sexson to her mom.

"I would take that over what you went through," her mother replied.

She's a 9-year-old girl who doesn't hide from what happened last year.

"It was bad it could have been much worse," said Hailey's mom Lindsey Martin.

It was right before the Fourth of July, one year ago: a firework didn't go off properly and exploded near Hailey.

"I didn't really feel it because I was in shock," she said.

It burned her arm and neck. "She had some shrapnel in her eye as well," Martin said.

For close to a year she was treated at Children's Hospital Colorado Burn Center. Treated for the physical pain and more.

"My role is to talk to them two parts handling the anxiety around what happened to you and how to feel confident in situations when someone may ask you questions," said Brad  Jackson, a psychologist with the Burn Center.

"People always ask what happened," said Hailey.

The lasting effects of a celebration gone wrong are why Hailey and her mom are talking now.

"Definitely keep your kids far away," Lindsey said about celebrating Fourth of July with fireworks.

"Sparklers can get over 1200 degrees - it's really hot enough to melt glass and in some cases hot enough to melt metal," Jackson said.

Even small fireworks can cause a lot of pain. Children's Hospital treated around 30 patients burned by fireworks last year, nearly twice as many from the year before.

"I just wanted to take the pain away from her," Martin said.

But that's not possible after something goes wrong. But this family knows the pain can be prevented and they can help by sharing their story.

"She's come so far she's such a tough girl," Martin said.

Jackson said it's important to keep kids a safe distance from fireworks. But also said make sure kids are wearing shoes because many times they get burned on their feet, as well as their hands and face. And after the celebrations make sure any spare fireworks are out of reach.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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