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Fireworks Injuries

Fireworks injuries occur mostly around the holidays. On Independence Day and New Year's Eve more fireworks injuries take place than any other time of year. Fireworks injuries happen mostly to the young as 45-percent affect those 14-years-old and younger and 75-percent to males.

 

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In regards to fireworks injuries, the hands (40%), eyes (20%), and head and face (20%) are the body areas most often involved. Bottle rockets account for two-thirds of the eye injuries. A third of the eye-related fireworks injuries result in permanent blindness.

Half of those who receive eye injuries are simply bystanders. Children, who are unsupervised, are 11 times more likely to receive fireworks injuries.

Over 9,000 people per year are victims of fireworks injuries in the United States and in 1999, nineteen people died from fireworks-related injuries. In 1997, fireworks caused $22.7 million in direct property damage outside of the cost of associated injuries.

Approximately 60-percent of the fireworks injuries are burns followed by contusions and lacerations. Sparklers account for most injuries to children under 5-years-old. Treatment of burns from fireworks can be more complicated than first thought since tetanus spores can be in the exploding devices' casings and gunpowder residue, cardboard fibers, and ash are often tattooed into the burned area.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 1976 set forth regulations concerning the Class "C" or consumer fireworks. The CPSC banned any firecracker containing more than 50 mg of explosive material and limited aerial fireworks to 130 mg of powder charge. The CPSC also lays out regulations involving fuse burn time limits, cautionary labeling requirements, and criteria to prevent tip-over and blowout of devices.

Bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers, Roman candles, snakes and other smoke devices are currently banned by 10 states with 5 additional states only allowing sparklers, snakes and other novelty items. The banning of fireworks is mostly, though, a patchwork of local and state laws. Many fireworks stands will open on state lines so those in a stricter state can come a buy the incendiary devices in a state with more lenient laws.

Tips to Avoid Fireworks-Related Injuries

1. Only attend fireworks displays put on by professionals.
2. Avoid letting children of any age play with fireworks.
3. Don't touch unexploded fireworks. Call the police or fire department to remove.
4. Wear protective eyewear when in the vicinity of fireworks
5. Take note of wind changes when in the vicinity of fireworks
6. Do not experiment with "homemade" fireworks
7. Keep water handy in case of fire or fallen fireworks debri

Being "overly safe" may take some of the fun out enjoying fireworks for some people. Due caution, though, may help avoid a lifetime disability for a child or loved one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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