Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 12:04
Plastic surgeons push for fireworks limits
The Dutch Society for Plastic Surgery (NVPC) is advocating for stricter fireworks regulations all year round, not just limited to the period around New Year's. The society wants better education about fireworks, especially with minors, a strict control of the use of illegal fireworks and eventually banning or severely restricting the use of consumer fireworks. According to the NVPC, limiting the time around New Year's in which fireworks may be lit, or even banning fireworks completely during that time, will not lead to fewer victims with serious hand injury. This is based on a study into the number, type and severity of hand injuries caused by fireworks during the previous year-end, published in the Dutch Journal for Medicine (Nederlands Tijdscrift voor Geneeskunde - NTvG). The study shows that the most hand injuries occurred outside of the permitted period around New Year's. "Of the 76 victims of last year, only 18 hand injuries occurred during the time that fireworks may legally be lit. In half of the number of victims the hand injury was caused by heavy illegal fireworks." says Annekatrien van de Kar, plastic surgeon and responsible for the study. 42 of the 76 people injured by fireworks, were younger than 18 years old. According to the NVPC, the Netherlands needs stricter supervision on illegal fireworks. Preventative measures such as ophthalmologists propagated fireworks-glasses to protect the eyes should be used more often by risk groups such as minors. An age restriction of 18 years should be placed on fireworks. "The current approach is inadequate. Other and additional interventions are necessary in order to reduce the number of hand injuries." says Van de Kar.