Average fireworks victim a 15-year-old boy
Nearly all the people who were injured by fireworks last New Year's were boys of an average age of 15 years, Erasmus MC reports on the basis of 63 victims admitted to 12 hospitals in the southwest of the Netherlands over New Year's. Most of the victims were injured by firecrackers, AD reports.
The hospitals collected data from 54 of the patients, including the type of injury, how it happened and the treatment. Almost half of the injured were bystanders and 22 percent were hurt by illegal fireworks. 50 of the 54 injuries were caused by firecrackers.
37 percent of the victims sustained burns or wounds on their hands and arms. 24 percent sustained eye injuries.
Every New Year's almost 500 people end up in emergency rooms, 200 eyes are damaged and an average of one person dies due to fireworks-related accidents. The Dutch Safety Board called New Year's the most dangerous time of the year in the Netherlands and called for a nationwide ban on firecrackers and rocket fireworks. The Dutch government decided against such a ban and left the decision about how to deal with New Year's fireworks up to the municipalities.
A number of municipalities are opting for voluntary firework-free zones, in which residents can apply to have their neighborhood made firework-free. The municipality will provide signage, but the residents themselves are responsible for enforcement. Rotterdam and Amsterdam are looking into having designated fireworks lighting zones, instead of firework-free zones.