Fireworks displays spark safety concerns

June 30, 2013
Fireworks displays spark safety concerns
Doctors share tips for injury-free Fourth of July celebration.

(HealthDay)—Fireworks add sparkle to Independence Day festivities but they need to be handled with care—and by adults, a prominent group of U.S. surgeons says.

"Many people consider consumer fireworks to be harmless fun, when in fact they can be extremely dangerous, especially when used by or near children and adolescents," Boston Dr. Tamara Rozental, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said in an academy news release.

"If caution is not used and are not adhered to, fireworks can cause serious injuries to the hands and fingers as well as the eyes," Rozental said.

Americans bought more than 212 million pounds of fireworks in 2011, compared with 184 million pounds in 2010, the American Pyrotechnics Association says. In 2012, there were more than 18,700 injuries caused by fireworks, including more than 7,300 emergency department visits, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The CPSC also says that 36 percent of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries in 2011 involved people younger than age 20. The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (46 percent of injuries); eyes (17 percent); head, face and ears (17 percent); and legs (11 percent). Burns accounted for more than half of the emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries. There were 1,100 -treated injuries associated with sparklers and 300 with bottle rockets.

The following fireworks safety tips come from the orthopedic surgeons:

  • Check with your local police department to determine if fireworks can be discharged
    legally in your area. If so, determine which types are legal. Never buy or use illegal fireworks. Their quality cannot be assured.
  • Only adults should light fireworks. Never hold lighted fireworks with your hand or place them near the body. Read the caution label on fireworks' packaging before lighting them and always wear safety eyewear when using fireworks. Never try to relight a firework.
  • Always have water handy in case of a fire, such as a hose hooked to a faucet or a nearby bucket of water. Soak used fireworks in water before discarding.
  • If you or anyone else suffers a fireworks-related injury, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Never allow young children to play with or go near fireworks, including sparklers. They might seem harmless, but sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
  • Never handle fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Explore further: Doctors urge caution with July Fourth fireworks

More information: The Nemours Foundation offers fireworks safety tips for parents.

Related Stories

Doctors urge caution with July Fourth fireworks

July 2, 2012
The Fourth of July is a day of picnics, parades and celebrations, and nothing quite says Independence Day like fireworks. However, doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center urge caution with consumer fireworks and suggest ...

The Medical Minute: Fireworks are beautiful but for professionals only

July 2, 2012
Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you'll appreciate them much more this Independence Day and all summer knowing your family is safe. Fireworks can be fun to watch, but they can also be very dangerous. Don’t ever ...

The Medical Minute: Fireworks -- beautiful but only for professionals

July 1, 2011
The Fourth of July is a time for celebration across the country and fireworks are a crowd favorite each year. While fireworks can be fun to watch, they also can be very dangerous.

Children's eye injuries peak in summer, expert says

June 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—Swimming pools are a major reason why children's eye injuries increase in the summer, according to an expert.

Recommended for you

Male contraceptive compound stops sperm without affecting hormones

April 20, 2018
A new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE details how a compound called EP055 binds to sperm proteins to significantly slow the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones, making EP055 a potential ...

A dose of empathy may support patients in pain

April 20, 2018
Research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that empathic, positive messages from doctors may be of small benefit to patients suffering from pain, and improve their satisfaction about the care ...

New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

April 20, 2018
A study led by the University of Birmingham suggests a possible association between exposure to certain pollutants and an increased risk of so-called 'cot death'.

For heavy lifting, use exoskeletons with caution

April 20, 2018
You can wear an exoskeleton, but it won't turn you into a superhero.

New device to help patients with rare disease access life-saving treatment

April 19, 2018
Patients with a rare medical condition can receive life-saving treatment at the touch of a button thanks to a new device developed by scientists.

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.