Search The Blog
Media Relations Manager
Media Relations Coordinator
Health news feedTornado birth: Mom endures labor as twister destroys hospitalDoctors print up a splint for baby's blocked throatDirty dogs: Homes with pooches loaded with bacteriaPost-tornado peril: Victims could face deadly fungal infectionsNew insomnia drug is effective, FDA findsStudy: Latino kids seeing more fast food ads
Let's keep all our fingers this Fourth of July
As the night sky already begins to fill with rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air, here’s a quick tip: If you want to watch something explode, make sure it’s not your hand.
Last year, hospitals in Pierce County treated 26 fireworks-related injuries on Independence Day. Washington state’s total of 249 injuries included 13 amputations.
“Around the Fourth of July, we’ll frequently see blast and burn injuries to the hands and face,” said Leah Gehri, Director of Emergency, Trauma and Cardiac Services at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup. “For example, people will underestimate how hot a sparkler will get, so even sparklers can be dangerous. Or if people are lighting firecrackers and trying to hold them in their hand until the last second before throwing them in the air, they’ll end up blowing off some fingers. We don’t often see death with fireworks, but we do see a fair amount of burn injuries to the hands and face.”
The leading cause of fireworks‐related injuries is “Holding in Hand” at 31 percent. A close runner-up was “Too Close to Lit Fireworks” at 28 percent.
Young males are most likely to be injured, according to statistics compiled by the state Fire Marshal. It’s worth noting that both legal and illegal fireworks caused injuries.
Statistics from the State Fire Marshal:
• In 24 percent of the injury incidents involving children, there was no adult supervision.
• Children are 11 times more likely to be injured by fireworks when they are unsupervised, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Children ages 4 and younger are at the highest risk for injuries from sparklers.
• Illegal fireworks were the leading class causing 95 injury incidents, or 49%. Legal fireworks were responsible for 77 incidents, or 36%. Of the 77 incidents involving legal devices, multi‐aerials caused 45%, followed by roman candles at 22%. Illegal devices causing injuries include Bottle Rockets at 12% and Public Display Mortars at 14%.
Don’t let your child be a statistic:
• Follow local laws – fireworks are banned in many cities, including Tacoma. Purchase only legal fireworks, available at approved stands.
• Only a designated adult should light fireworks.
• Never throw fireworks and never hold fireworks in your hand.
• Be sure all unused fireworks, matches and lighters are out of the sight and reach of children.
• Consider alternatives to fireworks: Watch a public display, use glow-in-the-dark sticks or fiber-optic flashlights. Play with streamers, noise makers, bubble machines or pinatas. Provide patriotic food and music.
Leading causes of fireworks-related injuries last year in Washington state:
67 Holding fireworks in hands
61 Too close to lit fireworks
22 Leaning over fireworks
14 Tampering with fireworks
13 Unsafe surface for lighting
10 Throwing fireworks
5 Duds-relighting or handling dud
4 Lighting fireworks
4 Children with sparkler (20 months to 7 years)
Posted on Jul 3, 2012 in Tacoma