Iowa (KWQC) - In May of 2017, the state of Iowa legalized the sale and use of fireworks for 2 week periods in July and December.
Firework injuries have been fairly consistent in years prior, but in 2017 reports of firework injuries have more than doubled compared to the previous year to 21, representing a 210% increase.
Not only have injuries increased, but have become more severe.
Surgery requirements due to fireworks injuries increased from 20% in 2014-2016 to 57% in 2017. In 2017, ten patients were admitted, compared to previous years where on average, fewer than two patients per year were admitted.
Prior to legalization, the average age of a firework injury patient was 35-years-old. After legalization, the average decreased to 24-years-old, 38% of patients were under the age of 18. Three years prior to legalization, just 12% were minors.
Bystanders are also being injured at a higher proportion compared to fireworks handlers. Post-legalization, the majority of minors were firework handlers, 62.5%, similar to handler proportion for adults which was 69%.
Davenport City Council will receive an updated fireworks ordinance, which will significantly narrow the times when they can be used.
Researchers at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) Department of Emergency Medicine, in association with the Injury Prevention Research Center and the Department of Surgery, examined trends of firework injuries at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, for the years 2014-2017 in order to identify the public health implications of the new law.