The data will be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting, May 3, in Baltimore.
UofL researchers have found that as state laws governing fireworks sales have relaxed over the past decade, the numbers of children with fireworks-related injuries has increased.

As states relaxed laws related to fireworks sales during the past decade, emergency doctors saw an increase in both the number of fireworks-related injuries among children and the severity of those injuries, according to new research being presented by faculty from the University of Louisville at the Pediatrics Academic Societies 2016 Meeting.

An abstract of the study, “Effect of Fireworks Laws on Pediatric Fireworks Related Burn Injuries,” will be presented at the PAS meeting in Baltimore on May 3. Researchers looked at federal and state data from the National Inpatient Sample, with data on 8 million hospital stays each year, and the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, which annually compiles information on 30 million discharges from emergency medicine facilities.

They determined the number of patients under age 21 treated and released by emergency departments between 2006 and 2012 rose modestly. Significantly larger increases were seen in injuries requiring inpatient hospital admission, which skyrocketed from 29 percent of cases in 2006 to 50 percent in 2012.

“The increase in fireworks-related injuries and the severity of these injuries in children since 2006 are very concerning,” said Charles Woods Jr., MD, one of the study’s authors and associate chair of pediatrics at the University of Louisville. “Although our findings do not prove a direct link to relaxations in state laws governing fireworks sales, it may be time for lawmakers to reassess this issue. Parents and caregivers of children also should be aware of these increasingly serious injuries and the potential dangers involved in allowing young children to handle and play with fireworks.”

Lead author John Myers, PhD, a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville, will present the abstract, “Effect of Fireworks Laws on Pediatric Fireworks Related Burn Injuries,” at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3 in Exhibit Hall F at the Baltimore Convention Center. The abstract is available online.

“Pediatric fireworks-related burn injuries have increased in incidence, apparent severity of injury, the proportion requiring hospitalization and length-of-stay in the hospital in a time period of relaxed fireworks laws in the United States,” Myers said. “These findings suggest that policy-makers should revisit current fireworks laws for the safety of children.”