238410 A Call for a Federal Ban on Consumer Fireworks

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sandeep Sharma, MD, DrPH(c) , Institute for Health Sciences and Practice/ Dept. of Health Policy and Management, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
Background: Backyard fireworks have never been more popular or more in demand. In 2007, usage soared to over 238 million pounds, leading to $930 million in revenue for that year. While this sounds like great news for the industry, fireworks can turn a happy celebration into a potentially traumatic experience for children. In a 14 year study, there were an estimated 85,800 fireworks-related injuries that were treated in US emergency departments. In 2007 alone, there were nearly 10,000 fireworks-related injuries and 11 fatalities. Methods: Secondary data was used which was provided by the American Pyrotechnics Association. Descriptive statistics were used for the results. Results: Seventy percent of all fireworks related injuries occur between June 20 and July 20. More than half of the injuries were burns and involved the hands, eyes, face, and legs. Adolescents ranging in age from 15 19 years old had the highest per capita injury rate among all age groups. Two of five (42%) people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15. The risk of fireworks injury was two-and-a-half times as high for children ages 5-9 or 10-14 as for the general population. A higher proportion of children who were younger than 10 years old were injured by sparklers or other novelty devices. Among children 10 years or older, 85% of aerial device injuries were caused by bottle rockets. Conclusion: The thousands of injuries caused by fireworks use, despite safety regulations, consumer education and unenforced State laws, can no longer be overlooked.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives: 1) Describe fireworks-related injuries and fatalities in the pediatric population. 2) Define the risks associated with the use of fireworks in the pediatric population. 3)Discuss preventative measures taken by some states. 4) Formulate steps to address a Federal ban on consumer fireworks.

Keywords: Children and Adolescents, Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Being in the medical profession, I am an advocate of issues that affect the health and safety of children.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.