Indiana Unveils Fireworks-Related Injury Report

August 11, 2004

The Indiana State Department of Health has issued its second report on fireworks-related injuries, showing that 215 Hoosiers were reported injured by fireworks this year from July 20, 2003 through July 27, 2004.

Here are highlights from the initial report, which was released this week:

• Fifty-one percent of all fireworks-related injuries reported involved children and adolescents, who represent a fourth of the population in Indiana.
• Sixty-seven percent of cases reported burn injuries, with burns of the hands being the most common type of injury.
• One out of every four injuries reported involved the eyes, with 82 percent of those with eye injuries not using any method of eye protection.
• Seventeen percent of injured persons required either hospital admission or specialized care for burns or eye injuries.
• Sparklers, rockets and firecrackers were associated with 63 percent of all injuries reported.
• Fireworks use on private property accounted for more than three-fourths of the injuries reported.
• There was a 17-percent reduction in the number of injuries this year reported during the holiday four-day peak period of July 3-6: 156 reports for 2004 compared to 189 reports for 2003.

“More than half of all injuries involved children and adolescents, including some bystanders,” said Charlene Graves, M.D., medical director for injury prevention at the State Department of Health. “The youngest child injured was six weeks of age, and four adolescents required hospitalization or specialized care for burns or eye injuries.

“Clearly, fireworks are inherently dangerous objects for use by the general public, as evidenced by two-thirds of the cases being reported with burn injuries, and 17 percent of injured persons needing either specialized care-for burns or eye injuries-or hospitalization,” added Graves.

Legislation passed by the 2003 Indiana General Assembly requires physicians, hospitals, and outpatient surgery centers to report all injuries resulting from fireworks or pyrotechnics to the State Department of Health.

The reporting requirement expires at the end of 2004, when state health officials must submit a report based on the data to the Legislative Council. The law was authored by State Representative Charlie Brown (D-Gary) and sponsored by State Senator Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne).

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