SUNDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- 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 orthopedic surgeon Dr.
Tamara Rozental, spokesperson for the American Academy of
Orthopaedic Surgeons, said in an academy news release.
"If caution is not used and safety guidelines 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
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 emergency department-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
The Nemours Foundation offers
fireworks safety tipsfor parents.