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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Examines the Epidemiology of Firework-related Injuries among Youths

Mr. Justin X. Moore, doctoral candidate in the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham—along with department colleagues Dr. Gerald McGwin, Jr., professor and vice chair, and Dr. Russell L. Griffin, assistant professor—recently examined the epidemiology of firework-related injuries among an emergency department (ED) nationally representative population for the years 2000-2010, including whether the type of firework causing the injury is differential by patient demographics and whether the severity of injury is associated with the firework type.


[Photo: Mr. Justin X. Moore]

Using data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS)—a national probability sample of hospitals in the United States and its territories that collects patient information from each NEISS hospital for every emergency visit involving an injury associated with consumer products—a total of 2,812 injuries represented an estimated 97,562 firework-related injuries treated in emergency departments within the United States from 2000-2010.

With respect to age, the incidence rate was higher for children, with the highest rates being observed for 10- to 19-year-olds (7.28 per 100,000 persons) and 0- to 9-year-olds (5.45 per 100,000 persons). The injury rate was nearly three times higher for males compared with their female counterparts (4.48 versus 1.57 per 100,000 persons). Females were less likely than males to severely injure themselves with all types of fireworks besides sparklers/novelty devices.

Ascertaining firework categories by analyzing the comments from all 2,812 patient events given in the NEISS database, the team investigated which firework types caused the most injuries (i.e., Aerial Devices, Firecracker, Illegal Fireworks, Roman Candles/Fountain, Sparklers/Novelty Devices, and Unspecified). Study results suggest that overall firework-related injuries have decreased by nearly 30 percent over the 11-year period between 2000 and 2010, with the “Unspecified” firework type being the only category to increase significantly. Adolescents between 10 and 19 years old had the highest rate of injury for fireworks over the 11-year period.

The researchers concluded that understanding the specific types of fireworks may lead to better preventative methods for reducing the rate of firework-related injuries among U.S. youths, as well as to possibly instigating more regulations and enforcement of laws geared toward prohibiting the fireworks use by novices. “The Epidemiology of Firework-related Injuries in the United States: 2000-2010” was published in July in Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured.

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