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Effect of Fireworks Laws on Pediatric Fireworks-Related Burn Injuries

Myers, John PhD, MSPH; Lehna, Carlee PhD, ARNP

doi: 10.1097/BCR.0000000000000435
Original Articles: 2016 ABA Papers

Changes in U.S. fireworks laws have allowed younger children to purchase fireworks. In addition, the changes have allowed individuals to purchase more powerful fireworks. The purpose of this study is to examine the epidemiology of pediatric firework-related burn injuries among a nationally representative sample of the United States for the years 2006 to 2012. We examined inpatient admissions for pediatric firework-related burn patients from 2006 to 2012 using the nationwide inpatient sample and examined emergency department admissions using the nationwide emergency department sample. Both data sources are part of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Trajectories over time were evaluated. A total of 3193 injuries represented an estimated 90,257 firework-related injuries treated in the United States from 2006 to 2012. A majority of injuries were managed in the emergency department (n = 2008, 62.9%). The incidence generally increased over time; increasing from 4.28 per 100,000 population in 2006 to 5.12 per 100,000 population in 2012, P = .019. However, the proportion of injuries requiring inpatient admission (28.9% in 2006 to 50.0% in 2012, P < .001) and mean length of stay in the hospital (3.12 days in 2006 to 7.35 days in 2012, P < .001) significantly increased over time, while the mean age decreased over time (12.1-year-old in 2006 to 11.4-year-old in 2012, P = .006). The relaxing of U.S. fireworks laws may have had a modest effect on incidence of related injuries and the age of purchaser. However, it has had a dramatic effect on the severity of the related injuries, resulting in more inpatient admissions and longer length of stay in the hospital. Preventative methods should be taken to reduce the rate and severity of firework-related injuries among U.S. youths.

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville, Kentucky.

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Address correspondence to John Myers, PhD, MSPH, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, 555 South Floyd Street, Suite 4058, Louisville, Kentucky 40202. Email: john.myers@louisville.edu.

© 2017 The American Burn Association