Fireworks-Related Burn Injuries on the Rise

Here's a quick reminder for pharmacy students and young patients: leave the fireworks to the professionals.

Here’s a quick reminder for pharmacy students and young patients: leave the fireworks to the professionals.

New study results have found that changes in fireworks laws correlate with a greater number of fireworks-related burn injuries among youth. Fireworks laws have become laxer, making it easier for youth to buy fireworks, including more powerful products, according to the study authors.

The researchers noted that this is the first study to examine fireworks laws and medical outcomes. They looked at fireworks-related burn injuries in patients under 21 years between 2006 and 2012. The Nationwide Emergency Department (ED) Sample provided information on ED admissions.

The investigators found that the incidence of injuries managed in the ED increased “modestly” from 4.28 per 100,000 in 2006 to 5.12 per 100,000 in 2012. A more critical finding, however, was that the proportion of injuries that necessitated inpatient admission (28.9% in 2006 vs 50% in 2012) and the mean length of stay in the hospital (31.12 days in 2006 vs 7.35 days in 2012) increased.

Meanwhile, mean age decreased from around 12 years in 2006 to around 11.4 years in 2012.

The study authors posited that policymakers may want to revisit fireworks laws to make sure that youth stay safe.

“The increase in fireworks-related injuries and the severity of these injuries in children since 2006 are very concerning,” said study author Charles Woods, MD, FAAP, s in an American Academy of Pediatrics 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. 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.”

Pharmacists can also play a role in treating burn patients in the acute care setting. For example, pharmacists can provide guidance on pain and intravenous fluid management, as well as appropriate dressings and bandages.

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