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Illegal Fireworks Injuries Linked to Child Hospitalizations

Most fireworks injuries are to the eye and hospitalization more common with illegal fireworks

TUESDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although fireworks injuries in children dropped in the United States between 1990 and 2003, an analysis of the estimated 85,800 injuries that did occur suggests that injuries due to illegal fireworks are more than three times as likely to result in a hospitalization as all other fireworks combined, according to a study in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Rachel J. Witsaman, B.A., of Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed 14 years of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data on fireworks injuries to children under age 19.

The researchers found that the mean age of injured children was 10.8 years and more than three-quarters (77.9 percent) were boys. Almost half of the injuries (49.5 percent) were to fireworks users, versus 22.2 percent in bystanders.

Although injuries caused by fireworks dropped significantly over 14 years, this did not happen for all ages or fireworks categories, the researchers report. Firecrackers caused most (29.6 percent) injuries. Some 20.8 percent of injuries were to eyeballs, followed by the face (20 percent) and hands (19.8 percent). While most children were treated and released, the risk of hospitalization was higher (relative risk, 3.35) with illegal fireworks than with all other fireworks combined.

"Consumer fireworks cause serious preventable injuries among pediatric fireworks users and bystanders in the United States," the authors write. "Parents should be advised to take their children to safer public fireworks displays rather than allowing consumer fireworks to be used by or near their children. A national restriction of consumer fireworks…should be implemented."

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