In a position statement, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) reminds the public about the dangers of fireworks and urges safety in light of the injuries that they could cause.

Fireworks caused more than 11,000 injuries in 2016, most commonly to the hands and fingers, ASSH estimates. These types of injuries can be particularly difficult to treat because they involve both burn and blast injuries, which damage tissues from the skin through the bone, sometimes causing partial or complete hand amputation.

In addition, sparklers, which many parents consider safe, burn at greater than 1,000 degrees F and can quickly cause serious injury.

Per the position statement, the ASSH urges the public to understand that:

  • All fireworks are inherently dangerous;
  • Firework use should be limited to professional display; explosive materials should only be handled by professionals; and
  • Firework injuries to the hand can be devastating and have large personal and economic costs.

ASSH also recommends the following safety precautions be taken, per the statement:

  • Use personal protective equipment, including eye protection, when handling any flammable material.
  • Ensure that people nearby are aware of any plan to ignite fireworks and are in a safe area.
  • If attending a public display, pay close attention and obey all rules and regulations established by the authorities and crew in charge of safety.
  •  Do not consume alcohol or use other drugs when choosing to use a firework, as it may impair judgment and dexterity.

“As a hand surgeon, I’ve had to treat multiple patients with injuries so severe that their fingers required amputation or were already missing.  It is not easy news to share, and it’s not easy for patients to hear,” states hand surgeon Steven H. Goldberg, MD, in a media release from ASSH.

“In a split second, their hand, their life, their employment is changed forever. Listen to my mom and say ‘no’ to the personal use of fireworks this summer.”

[Source(s): American Society for Surgery of the Hand, PR Newswire]