Indiana Epidemiology Newsletter
Charlene Graves, MD
Susan Perkins, RN
Tracy Powell, MPH
Through the passage of House Enrolled Act 1131, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) received injury reports resulting from fireworks and/or pyrotechnics during 2003 and 2004. No reporting occurred in 2005 due to the expiration of this law. The passage of Public Law 187 in 2006 reinstated reporting of fireworks-related injuries, with identical reporting requirements as those in the previous statute. This report presents fireworks injuries data compiled from March 31-July 31, 2006.
For all three years, the most frequently reported fireworks-related injury was burns, accounting for over 60 percent of all injuries (Table 3). Although burns increased slightly from 67 percent in 2004 to 73 percent in 2006, the increase was not significant (p=0.22). After hand injuries, eyes were the second most reported area of the body harmed by fireworks. The proportion of reported eye injuries increased significantly from 17 percent in 2003 to 25 percent in 2004 (p=0.01); however from 2004 to 2006, the slight increase (to 29%) was not statistically significant (p=0.53).
The proportion of people with fireworks-related injuries admitted to the hospital increased in 2006, when compared to 2003 and 2004. The increase from 5 percent in 2004 to 11 percent (28 people) in 2006 was significant (p<0.05).
Across all three years, the types of fireworks causing most injuries (sparklers, rockets, and firecrackers) and the reasons for injury (mishandling, errant path, and malfunctioning) did not change significantly (p>0.05).
Table 1 compares percentage of fireworks-related injury categories by year.
|Category||2003 (n=261)||2004 (n=233)||2006 (n=251)|
|Black or African American||10%||8%||13%|
|Body Part Injured|
|Injured on Private Property||83%||89%||86%|
|Cases with No Eye Protection||82%||88%||97%|
|Children Injured with Adults Present||60%||50%||64%|
|Received Specialized Care for Burn or Eye Injuries||8%||19%||12%|
|Injuries from Sparklers, Rocket, or Firecrackers||63%||64%||58%|
|Injuries from Mishandling Fireworks||27%||23%||29%|
|Errant Path or Malfunctioning Fireworks||21%||37%||41%|
For the 251 cases of fireworks-related injuries that comprise this report, 85 percent (213 cases) occurred during a 10-day period surrounding July 4, 2006, including 47 percent (118 cases) of injuries that took place on Independence Day. While those injured ranged in age from 11 months to 67 years, children and adolescents comprised more than one half
(55 percent) of the reported cases. According to the 2004 U.S. Census population estimates for Indiana, persons under 18 years of age represent one fourth of the population. Adults were present 64 percent (83 cases) of the time for reported injuries in children and adolescents. Males were involved in 70 percent of all reported cases, which is a common finding for many traumatic injuries. The racial distribution of those injured was similar to that of the population of Indiana.
As expected, the most frequently reported type of injury was burns, involving 73 percent (182 cases) of all cases and 59 percent of all injuries. While the hands were the part of the body most commonly injured (36 percent), injuries to the eye (29 percent) were also common.
Bystanders were injured in 17 percent (42 cases) of reported cases. Hospital admission was needed for 11 percent of those injured, with an additional 12 percent requiring specialized care for either burn or eye injuries. There were no reported deaths resulting from fireworks injuries during the time period of this report.
For cases who noted where they used fireworks, 86 percent (215 cases) of reported cases occurred at private homes, yards, or properties (self-owned, friend, neighbor, or relative). The type of fireworks involved in injuries varied somewhat by age. Sparklers caused the most injuries in young children, rockets caused the most injuries in adolescents, and sparklers, closely followed by firecrackers and aerials, caused the most injuries in adults.
Mishandling, malfunction, or errant path of fireworks was the most frequent mechanism reported for fireworks-related injuries, accounting for 70 percent of all those injured. Alcohol use was not stated for 91 percent of the reported cases. Of the 9 percent reporting use of alcohol, 96 percent reported alcohol use at activities affecting injured adults.