Have a Fun -- But Safe -- Fourth of July
Hands, head, eyes at greatest risk for injury with at-home fireworks, expert says
TUESDAY, July 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Your hands, fingers, head and eyes are at greatest risk for injury if you set off fireworks at home, a doctor warns.
"Fireworks are basically explosives and all are capable of causing severe injuries, but even minor injuries can cause significant functional disability when it comes to hand and eye function," Dr. John Santaniello, a trauma surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., said in a Loyola news release.
"Fireworks are not toys," he added.
Hands and fingers account for the largest number (32 percent) of reported injuries caused by fireworks, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The head and eyes account for 19 and 18 percent of reported fireworks-related injuries, respectively.
Along with the physical effects, fireworks-related injuries are costly. One study that used data from several states found that the average cost of a hospital stay related to a fireworks-related amputation of a finger, thumb or lower arm was $15,600. Total costs for all fireworks-related injuries in the study were $1.4 million.
Loyola offered these fireworks safety tips:
The safest way to celebrate Independence Day is to attend a community fireworks display staged by professionals.
If you decide to have fireworks at home, use only legal ones and read and follow all directions. Never approach a fireworks device after it has been lit, even if it appears to have gone out. It may explode unexpectedly.
Make sure the area where you have fireworks isn't too dry. Have fire extinguishers and water hoses within easy reach, but always call 911 immediately if a fire starts.
Give children glow-in-the-dark wands and noisemakers instead of firecrackers and sparklers. Teach children about the dangers of fireworks.
If someone is injured by fireworks, summon medical help immediately.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers more fireworks safety tips (http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks/ ).
SOURCE: Loyola University Medical Center, news release, June 19, 2014