Fireworks are dangerous explosives, not toys

Given that public fireworks displays are canceled because of the pandemic, hand surgeons are worried that injuries stemming from privately purchased fireworks will increase this year.

Dr. Erin Miller, a hand surgeon at Harborview Medical Center, says people need to understand that fireworks are not toys, and even something that seems like a minor burn can have lasting consequences. Last year, she was on-call during the week of the Fourth.  In that span, she saw 30 cases and had to amputate 42 fingers because of fireworks injuries.

"As hand surgeons at Harborview, patients frequently have digit amputations and we’re able to put them back on," Miller says. "A nice clean cut or a saw, we can save a finger. When it’s a firework injury, there’s nothing left I have to save because it’s not a clean cut. Everything is blown apart."

Her advice? Avoid using fireworks, especially avoid larger fireworks, mortars, and cherry bombs—and do not mix alcohol or other drugs if you choose to ignite fireworks.

UW Medicine