STAR-BULLETIN / DECEMBER 2007
Fireworks are displayed at the site of the old former Garden House at the corner of Beretania and Piikoi streets, where Nathaniel Menashe, center, and his brothers Benjamin, left, and Aharon look at goods for sale.
New Year’s fireworks hurt 105
An infant burned with a sparkler was among 105 islanders treated in Hawaii emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries over the New Year period, the state Department of Health reported.
The total fireworks injuries statewide from Dec. 31 through Jan. 2 jumped 14 percent from 92 injuries reported for New Year's 2006-2007. The total was 85 in 2005-2006.
"Injuries generally are increasing, particularly on Oahu," said epidemiologist Dan Galanis, with the Injury Prevention and Control Program.
"The most striking thing is, every year we see the same thing. It's mostly kids," he said. "In this case, two-thirds are under age 18, so that always stands out to me."
Under state law, all minors -- youths under 18 -- must be supervised when using fireworks.
But in the three-day New Year period, children age 2 through 14 had 56 fireworks injuries -- more than in an average month from car crashes (42), assaults (21), poisonings (13) or pedestrian crashes (nine), the Injury Prevention Program said.
This year's number of fireworks injuries is the second-highest total in the eight years the Injury Prevention Program has been collecting the information, Galanis said. Injuries hit a high of 110 statewide four years ago, he said.
Ten injuries were attributed to sparklers, 14 to firecrackers and 11 to "blooming flowers." Information was not available for half of the injuries.
About 85 percent of the victims were injured while setting off or holding fireworks. The other 15 percent were watching fireworks.
Nearly all patients were taken to hospitals by private vehicles and discharged after treatment, mostly for burns to hands and fingers.
Four adults were hospitalized. "At least three had facial burns, fairly serious," Galanis said.
Data was collected from emergency departments of 22 hospitals in the state and the Hana and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Centers.
Patients ranged in age from infancy to 52 years. Two-thirds were under age 18.
Fireworks permit sales were down in Honolulu, to 9,232 from 10,317 a year ago. Yet most of the increase in injuries occurred in Honolulu, to 92 this year from 66 last year -- a 39 percent increase.
The Big Island had eight fireworks injuries, and Kauai had five, the highest number reported from there in the eight years. Maui County reported no injuries, although it usually has four to 13 per year, Galanis said.