Experts support changes to firework packaging

Thursday 27th December 2018

Experts support changes to firework packaging

Planning on seeing the New Year in at home with fireworks? How confident are you on using them whilst keeping you, your friends and family safe?

According to figures from NHS Digital, last year in England 4,436 individuals attended accident and emergency because of an injury caused by a firework – more than double the number in 2009-2010 (2,141). Half of those seen in hospitals between 2017-2018 were aged 18 or under and 80 per cent were male. This is despite the fact that legally you need to be aged 18 or over to buy fireworks.

That’s one of the reasons why plastic surgeons at Queen Victoria Hospital are supporting a campaign calling on the government to change the packaging of fireworks in a move to help reduce the number of people sustaining injuries each year.

A number of patients from across the South East of England injured by fireworks required reconstructive surgery from specialist surgeons at Queen Victoria Hospital, some of whom had life-changing injuries. The hospital is a leading specialist centre for reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, helping people who have been damaged or disfigured through both accidents and disease.

A campaign created by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), of which Queen Victoria Hospital’s plastic surgeons are members, is calling for an overhaul of firework packaging in a bid to reduce the number of injuries sustained through the misuse of fireworks. The association is suggesting the introduction of graphic images of injuries caused by fireworks to be featured on packaging.

Baljit Dheansa, consultant plastic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “People often forget that fireworks are effectively explosives and although they may look like toys, they can cause significant injuries requiring reconstructive surgery. We are lending our support to British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons’ campaign calling on the government to include mandatory warning notices, similar to those found on cigarette packets, on all fireworks packaging.

“We want to ensure that everyone coming into contact or buying fireworks is fully aware of the potential they have to cause harm and the implications on those around them. Ultimately, we hope this change will reduce the number of people requiring reconstructive surgery primarily to their hands or face, after incorrectly using sparklers or misusing fireworks.”

Picture: A mock-up of what new firework packaging could look like. Credit to BAPRAS.

For more information please contact the QVH Press Office on 01342 414508.