A 2006 study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) found children are injured more frequently by fireworks compared to the general population. Nationwide Children’s Hospital reported fireworks injuries ranged from minor burns and corneal abrasions to severe burns, vision and hearing loss and even death. Members of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks caution parents should not buy or use consumer fireworks at home and instead can enjoy public displays by professionals.
Conducted in 2006, the study found approximately 85,800 pediatric fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments between 1990 to 2003. The most affected groups are boys and children ages 10-14. The most common injury are burns.
Additionally, researchers note there is no one type of firework that is particularly dangerous. Instead, all types of fireworks can pose a risk to children, even children that are just nearby fireworks. Novelty fireworks such as “sparklers” which are assumed safer actually accounted for 28% of fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency departments in 2006. Surprisingly, these “sparklers” can burn at temperatures greater than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Two-thirds of “sparklers” injuries were to children ages five and younger.
Doctor Gary Smith, Director of CIRP and a faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, explains, “There is no such thing as a safe consumer firework.”
Parents should heed the advice of experts this Fourth of July and celebrate by watching a safer public display. Safety first is what matters, and no one wants to be in the emergency room on a holiday weekend!