Monthly Archives: June 2016
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 Commission (CPSC).
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 eyes (17 percent); hands and fingers (46 percent of injuries); 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.
Of them, 84 percent of the fatalities were children younger than 9. The government agency estimates there are some 43,000 “tip-over” accidents each year in the United States, and 70 percent involve TV sets and furniture.
The report finds a large majority of these incidents occur when a child climbs on furniture to reach a toy, remote, or video game remote control, or to turn on a television set.
Nearly half of these accidents occur in bedrooms. The report suggests many of the televisions involved in these injuries are older, clunky CRT sets that have been moved to another room and placed on a bureau or dresser, once a family upgrades to a flat screen television.
The majority of these deaths — around 62 percent — are from improperly secured television sets, which can weigh an average 50 to 100 pounds. A great number of these accidents result in severe head injuries. There were 41 tip-over fatalities in 2011, which is the highest number, compared with 31 in 2010 and 27 deaths in 2009.
The agency urges parents take extra measures to ensure large appliances and furniture are stabilized and properly installed in their home, and also to educate their children about the dangers of climbing on furniture. As the watchdog for consumer product safety, the CPSC offers several tips to prevent tip-over accidents at home:
- Anchor all furniture to the walls or floors.
- Secure TVs to the tops of furniture that are customized to hold such devices.
- Cover appliance cords and cable wires and keep them out of reach from children.
- Use brackets for free-standing kitchen appliances and stoves.
- Childproof your entire home and don’t leave children unsupervised in rooms where furniture, TVs, and other appliances have not been properly secured.