About 400 victims, mostly teenagers, require treatment each year for eye and hand injuries caused by the approximately 30 million guilders3 (US$18.4 million) worth of fireworks sold between Christmas and New Year’s, when the nationwide fireworks sales ban is lifted.
In recent weeks, the Netherlands, with one of Europe’s most restrictive fireworks laws, has launched an unusually macabre4 ad campaign warning of fireworks’ dangers in the nation’s densely populated cities.
"Blew up your hand? Get a new one," proclaims5 one poster with a picture of an artificial limb. Another features a glass eye.
Dutch inner cities sound like war zones as the stroke of midnight approaches on Dec. 31, the only night on which setting off fireworks is legal, except for specially licensed events.
Most accidents occur among kids trying to set off home-made fireworks or reignite misfired6 rockets and firecrackers, according to Cees Meyer of the Consumer Safety Association.
In recent years, the government has banned many kinds of fireworks, including those detonated7 by friction, high explosives and low trajectory8 rockets known as "screaming maids."
Because of the high injury rate, Amsterdam police have set up a special team to combat illegal fireworks.
Fireworks’ popularity here originated with the rural Dutch custom of hailing the new year with exploding milk canisters.
Dealer Broekhoff said the government safety campaigns have brought a shift from noisy fireworks with a high blast force to the more expensive rocket- type pyrotechnics?
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