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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

A Dangerous Display

Published July 1, 2010 2:06 PM by Rebecca Mayer

When one thinks of ushering in the Fourth of July, joyous visions of patriotic decorations, family gatherings, barbeques, and fireworks displays come to mind. Typically these visions do not include a trip to the local Emergency Room. But for thousands of people last year, the ER was as much a part of the holiday celebration as waving an American Flag at an Independence Day Parade.

The culprit? Bottle rockets, firecrackers and sparklers.

People who don't follow proper safety procedures for fireworks can end up with serious burns and other traumatic injuries. Nearly 10,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries across the United States in 2009, and 11 deaths were reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The most common injuries are eye-related, even permanent blindness in some cases, but others experience hearing loss, burns and loss of fingers and limbs. Because fireworks displays are at night and commonly in the presence of alcohol, judgement is often impaired. Children are arguably at the greatest risk of injury simply because they do not know any better so medical professionals caution parents to stress the importance of safety.

To punctuate the importance of educating people about the safety of fireworks, please revisit our feature, Portrait of Recovery, written by Managing Editor Jonathan Bassett in August 2009.

What steps are being taken in your community to educate people on the dangers of fireworks?

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