SOURCE: AAOS

June 27, 2008 11:15 ET

Fireworks Should Be Breathtaking, Not Bone-Shattering

Orthopaedic Surgeons Provide Safety Tips for Fourth of July Celebrations

ROSEMONT, IL--(Marketwire - June 27, 2008) - 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 21,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in hospitals,
    doctor's offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and emergency rooms
    in 2007. Children under 17 accounted for approximately 11,000 of those
    injuries.
--  The total cost for medical expenses, legal expenses, work loss, and
    pain and suffering due to fireworks injuries equaled more than $615
    million.
    

"Fireworks can be used safely by trained adults, but illegal firecrackers or ones that are used improperly present substantial risks," said Clifford Jones, MD, orthopaedic surgeon specializing trauma and member of the Academy's Leadership Fellows Program. "If fireworks misfire or explode prematurely, the extreme force can tear or destroy bones, tissue and nerves, causing permanent damage to the body."

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 more injury prevention tips

http://www.orthoinfo.org

About AAOS

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