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6-29-10

Fireworks Injuries

Thousands of people go to hospital emergency rooms with injuries from fireworks each year.  Most of these injuries occur around the Fourth of July.

Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially this time of year.  But fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious injuries if proper precautions are not taken.  Dr. David Griffen, associate professor and chair of the emergency medicine division at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains the most common injuries from fireworks.

SOUND BITE: “More than half of the injuries are burns.  But there are other injuries including lacerations, foreign bodies to the eye, contusions and blast injuries, especially to the hands and face.  The body parts most injured are the hands, number one, but the eyes are number two.  And the eye injuries can result in blindness, so they are quite significant.”      

Dr. Griffen says all fireworks are meant to be displayed at a distance – most injuries occur when people get too close.  He recommends some safety precautions when using fireworks. 

SOUND BITE:   “Keep children at a safe distance.  Wear protective eyewear if you do have legal fireworks in your state or legal fireworks. . . .  People who are observing fireworks displays at home should wear protective eyewear.”

By being cautious and following safety rules when using and watching fireworks, you can have a safe and happy Fourth of July.  If anyone is injured by fireworks, they should go to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.