Every year thousands of Americans are treated for dermatologic, opthalmologic and orthopedic injuries related to fireworks, with a small number of those injuries proving fatal. Almost 75% of those injured are males and 40% are children under 15 years of age. Sadly, almost 70% of those injuries are preventable. Still, the numbers continue to rise and almost 11,500 were treated for fireworks related incidents last year alone. This trend is particularly maddening when one compares the relatively low cost of consumer fireworks against the more expensive cost of an ER visit and subsequent treatment.
It is perhaps no coincidence therefore that July has been designated as “Fireworks Safety Month” and “Eye Injury Prevention Month”, emphasizing the need to raise public awareness about common sense prevention that could drastically reduce those statistics. These include:
- Fireworks are for outdoor use only
- Young children should never handle/play with fireworks
- Use protective eyewear when lighting/close to fireworks
- Keep water on hand
- Never relight a “dud”
- Do not purchase/use illegal fireworks
PTs and OTs have a vested interest in promoting an effective prevention campaign to their clients, friends and family. Check with your community fire department or the Fire Prevention Bureau for suggestions and materials on how to organize locally. In the meantime, Centra wishes all Americans a very happy, healthy and safe holiday!