Fireworks-related injuries increase as state laws ease
BALTIMORE — Between 2006 and 2012, the overall estimated amount of children injured by fireworks increased nationwide, while state laws related to the sale of fireworks to minors were relaxed, according to a poster presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.
“The increase in fireworks-related injuries and the severity of these injuries in children since 2006 are very concerning,” Charles Woods, MD, FAAP, of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Louisville, said in a press release. “Although our findings do not prove a direct link to relaxations in state laws governing fireworks sales, it may be time for lawmakers to reassess this issue.”
To determine the epidemiology of fireworks injuries among children across the United States, the researchers studied admissions of pediatric patients with fireworks-related burns from 2006 to 2012 using data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample. Woods and colleagues first identified 59,350 patients using the code for accident caused by explosive material, then further identified 3,193 patients who suffered a burn injury. Census data were used with statistical analysis to determine a national estimated pediatric firework-related injury rate.
Study results showed that the burn-related injuries equated to an estimated 90,257 fireworks-related burn injuries among pediatric patients nationwide during the study period. The researchers found that the incidence rate of fireworks injuries increased slightly from 4.28 per 100,000 population in 2006 to 5.12 per 100,000 in 2012 (P = .019). Furthermore, the mean age of patients requiring inpatient admission decreased from 12.1 years to 11.4 years (P = .006), while the proportion of inpatient admissions grew from 28.9% to 50% during the study period (P < .001). In addition, the mean length of stay also was greater (3.12 days vs. 7.35 days; P < .001).
“Parents and caregivers of children also should be aware of these increasingly serious injuries and the potential dangers involved in allowing young children to handle and play with fireworks,” Woods said in the press release. – by David Costill
Myers J, et al. Abstract 4135.266. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting; April 30-May 3, 2016; Baltimore.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.