11:56am Sunday 05 April 2020

Vanderbilt Doctors Urge Caution, Fireworks Cause Serious Injuries

“The law prohibiting the use of fireworks in most residential areas is there for a reason,” said Thomas Abramo, M.D., professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and director of the Emergency Department at the Children’s Hospital. “Fireworks in the hands of regular citizens are responsible for a lot of damage, like fires, as well as injuries. And if it is a problem in the hands of adults, there is absolutely no reason a child should be allowed to handle fireworks,” he said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Analysis and Research Report, more fires are reported on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year in the United States. More than half of these fires are caused by fireworks. Still, thousands of families will use fireworks in residential areas.

“People may not know, for example, that the tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – this is hot enough to cause third-degree burns,” said Purnima Unni, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator at the Children’s Hospital. “Leaving the pyrotechnics to the experts is the No. 1 way to avoid injuries. But if you will be celebrating in an area where you know fireworks will be handled by friends or family, lay down strict rules for your children to follow to stay safe,”

Firework Safety 101:

· Always read and follow all warnings and label instructions.

· Always have an adult present, and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers are often considered to be the ideal “safe” firework for the young, but they burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing.

· The adult igniting the fireworks should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the fireworks.

· Use fireworks only outdoors.

· Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

· Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).

· Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.

· Light only one firework at a time.

· Never throw or point fireworks at other people or animals.

· Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

· Never re-light a “dud” firework. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.

· Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.

Remember, the safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths is to leave the fireworks displays to trained professionals!

In 2008, 7,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

· 57 percent of the 2008 fireworks injuries were burns, while 20 percent were contusions and lacerations.

· The risk of fireworks injury was highest for teens, 15-19 and children, 5-9.

· Sparklers, fountains, and novelties alone accounted for 32 percent of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2007.

Source: NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Report, 2010

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