Who Says Sparklers Can’t Hurt you?

June 25, 2014

Everyone knows roman candles are dangerous, but sparklers that get as hot as 1800°can cause serious burns.

“It didn’t light,” that’s what trauma surgeons hear every July 4th weekend, as patients with horrible facial injuries and burns reveal that’s what they said – as they lowered their head to investigate a split second before the firework exploded in their face.

Every day during the month of July, the Emergency Department at University Hospital expects to see about 40 patients with burns and, according to Dr. Lillian Liao, trauma surgeon and director of the pediatric trauma center, many of these injuries could have easily been prevented.

“Handling fireworks can quickly lead to a visit to the hospital,” said Dr. Liao. “I would highly recommend families enjoy public fireworks displays coordinated by the experts instead of at home.”

Liao said about 60 percent of injuries in July occur around July 4 and nearly 50% of all injuries occur in children and teens between the ages 0 and 19.

She said even sparklers can heat up to 1800° F– hot enough for hamburgers and hot dogs to burn. At that temperature, it can even melt gold. Important safety tips for keeping kids safe include:

  • Enjoy public firework shows
  • If you choose to have fire works:
    • Keep kids at a safe distance from sparklers, rockets and firecrackers
    • Have water buckets nearby in case a fire or burn occurs
    • Light one firework piece at a time
    • Never let your child put their face near a lit firework or hold in hand

University Hospital is the primary destination for the treatment of life-threatening injuries in both adults and children, from across 22 South Texas counties.

NOTE: Interviews with Dr. Lillian Liao will be available now through July 2.
Please call 358-2335 to coordinate.