Leave those fireworks to the pros!

July 1, 2005

Independence Day celebrations that are just behind us can end tragically-as those of you who do stints in the pediatric ED know well. Backyard parties that involve fireworks-even small ones such as sparklers that children are often allowed to use-too often lead to injury, fire, and even death. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most people injured by consumer fireworks are children and teenagers. In 2003, for example, 60% were younger than 19 years. Children between 5 and 9 years were at highest risk that year. Boys are particularly vulnerable: In 2003, 72% of the injured were male.

Independence Day celebrations that are just behind us can end tragically-as those of you who do stints in the pediatric ED know well. Backyard parties that involve fireworks-even small ones such as sparklers that children are often allowed to use-too often lead to injury, fire, and even death. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most people injured by consumer fireworks are children and teenagers. In 2003, for example, 60% were younger than 19 years. Children between 5 and 9 years were at highest risk that year. Boys are particularly vulnerable: In 2003, 72% of the injured were male.

In response to this toll of trauma, the NFPA and the American Academy of Pediatrics joined three years ago to form a coalition against consumer use of fireworks that now numbers 21 health or fire safety advocacy groups, including the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. At a press conference in June, the coalition called for a complete ban on consumer fireworks. Be certain that the coalition's message-hands off all fireworks and leave the noise and flash to professional exhibitors!-is a part of your anticipatory guidance for parents, especially during summer's celebrations.