SUMMER’S STEALTHY PERILS PART 1 - FIREWORKS

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Joshua Strommen MD, FACEP

 

Firework Related Injuries

 

Fireworks maintain a nostalgic part of our hearts. We all have grown old with wonderful memories of 4th of July fireworks alongside all its companion foods and drinks. However, we are also familiar with the dangers of fireworks if not careful. On a yearly basis, the Consumer Product Safety Commission accumulates data on firework-related deaths and injuries. The CPSC (https://www.cpsc.gov/Research--Statistics/Injury-Statistics) does this for many products to include ATV’s, appliances, pools, and nursery products to name just a few.  As of 2016, the most recent report, here are some notable facts on firework injuries:

 

·       There were 11,100 injuries and 4 deaths nationwide.

·       Ages 20-24 had the highest incidence of injuries.

·       Of the patients who came in - 

  • Hands and fingers were injured the most at 33% of the time
  • Head/face/ears at 20%
  • Eyes at 9% of the time

·       Burns caused 69% of all injuries.

  • Sparklers can burn at temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit!

·       Sparklers and reloadable shells are most associated with injuries.

·       Malfunction (tipping over, errant flight path, and short fuses) of the firework was more common as the cause of injury than misuse (improper placement, mischief, or holding in the hand).

·       About 10% of the injuries will end up in hospitalization and/or a surgical procedure.

 

A few pointers to remember for safety:

 

·       Never allow young children to ignite fireworks.

·       Sparklers burn at blistering hot temperatures.

·       Never place your body over a firework that is intended to shoot up or out.

·       Never re-light a firework that didn’t ignite fully initially.

·       Keep a bucket of water or a hose handy when you are shooting fireworks.