Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday. Last year eleven people died and 9200 people were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to fireworks. Fireworks injuries are so prominent that the Consumer Product Safety Commission issues an annual report on the subject.

Here are some excerpts from the 2006 report:

*Two-thirds of the firework injuries occurred between June 16th and July 16th.

*One out of every three people injured were children under 15 years of age.
About three times as many males were injured as females.

*Young people under twenty sustained nearly half (47%) of all injuries from fireworks.

*The body parts most often injured were hands (2,300 injuries), eyes (1,500 injuries), and the head, face, and ear (1,400 injuries).

*Firecrackers were associated with the greatest number of estimated injuries at 1,300. There were 1,000 injuries associated with sparklers and 800 associated with rockets.

*Sparklers accounted for one-third of the injuries to children less than 5 years of age.

Every year I have some version of this conversation with a reporter:

Reporter: “Dr. Gardner, what would you have to say to our readers about firework safety?”
Me: “Leave fireworks to the professionals. There are great outdoor shows everywhere.”
Reporter: “No, I meant to ask what people can do if they want to be safe handling fireworks?”
Me: “Don’t handle them. Leave fireworks to the professionals.”
Reporter: “Don’t you have anything to say about how old children should be before they light firecrackers?”
Me: “Yes. Children should not handle firecrackers. Leave the fireworks to professionals.”
Reporter: “Dr. Gardner, is there anyone else we can interview about firework safety?”

Well, at least I’m consistent. Please be careful as you celebrate our nation’s birthday.

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