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Fireworks Should Sparkle in the Sky
Date:6/29/2009

Orthopaedic surgeons provide safety tips for Fourth of July celebrations

ROSEMONT, Ill., June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fourth-of-July fireworks always draw a crowd but those beautiful bursts of color can lead to catastrophic injuries if not used with care. This Independence Day, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) advises Americans to enjoy the spectacular celebrations but urges adults and children to exercise extreme caution by leaving fireworks to the professionals.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • More than 15,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and emergency rooms in 2008. Children under 18 accounted for approximately 8,000 of those injuries.
  • The total cost for medical expenses, legal expenses, work loss, and pain and suffering due to fireworks injuries equaled more than $5.4 million.

"Fireworks can be used safely by trained adults, but illegal firecrackers or ones that are used improperly present substantial risks," said James C. Krieg, MD orthopaedic surgeon specializing in trauma and spokesperson for the AAOS. "If fireworks misfire or explode prematurely, the extreme amount of force can tear or destroy tissue, including bones and nerves, causing permanent damage."

In an effort to reduce the number and severity of firework-related injuries treated by orthopaedic surgeons, the AAOS recommends the following safety guidelines for trained adults who choose to use fireworks:

  • Check with your local police department to determine if fireworks can be discharged legally in your area. If so, determine which types are legal.
  • Never buy illegal fireworks. Their quality cannot be assured.
  • Only adults should light fireworks.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks.
  • Never allow young children to play with or go near fireworks, including sparklers. They seem harmless but sparklers can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
  • Never play with fireworks if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For other injury prevention tips, visit www.orthoinfo.org

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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