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Hand Surgeons Agree: Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) urges the public to leave fireworks in the hands of the professionals.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 38% of all reported fireworks-related injuries from June 22-July 22, 2001, were to fingers, hands, and arms. These injuries included burns, lacerations, fractures, and traumatic amputation.

Of the finger, hand, and arm injuries, the majority of injuries were caused from accidents involving firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers—three firework-types most often used in a backyard environment. Accidents involving firecrackers, bottle rockets, and hand-held sparklers totaled 57% of all fireworks injuries (source: American Pyrotechnic Association).

ASSH encourages individuals to attend a public fireworks display (monitored for safety by a local fire department) rather than setting off fireworks near or around their home.

The following precautions should be taken when attending a public fireworks display:

  • Obey safety barriers and ushers

  • Stay back a minimum of 500 feet from the launching site

  • Resist the temptation to pick up firework debris when the display is over. The debris may still be hot. In some cases, the debris might be “live” and could still explode.

  • Never give children hand-held sparklers. Sparklers cause 10% of all firework injuries (source: American Pyrotechnics Association)—and were associated with the most injuries to children under 5 years of age (source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

© 2006 American Society for Surgery of the Hand

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