MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) strongly advised parents and caregivers on Tuesday not to allow children to use firecrackers during the holiday season, especially in welcoming the New Year.
The DOH said statistics revealed that children age six to 10 years old are most affected by firecracker-related injuries, and majority (67%) of injuries happened between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
The DOH surveillance report showed that out of 997 injuries due to fireworks, 25 percent or 250 cases were children less than 10 years old. One reported death due to fireworks was a 12-year-old male, who sustained severe head injury caused by mixed firecracker powder.
“Every year, despite advertisements and campaigns intended to protect children from fireworks injuries, the profile of cases remain the same,” acting Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said.
In a statement released on Sunday, Dec. 21, DOH appealed to parents and caregivers of children to “exercise extreme vigilance and caution.” Adults who see children playing with firecrackers should seize the firecrackers, stow them someplace no longer accessible to children, repeatedly discourage children from buying firecrackers, and educate children on consequences of firecracker injuries.
The last surveillance report showed that the usual body parts injured were hands (55%), eyes (15%), legs (11%), heads (9%), and forearms/arms (8%). Amputation was necessary to 25 cases of blast wounds.
“Imagine the rest of a child’s life without hands, arms, legs, or injured body parts after losing them to fireworks…” the DOH statement asked parents. “Not only is self-esteem drastically diminished, productivity at school… will also be greatly affected.”
The statement concluded: “The fun from lighting up firecrackers is as fleeting as the sparks of the firecrackers. Serious injuries and amputation caused by firecracker explosions have life-changing consequences. Exploding or lighting up firecrackers is an extreme gamble on one’s future.”
The acting DOH secretary emphasized to the public: “Mahalaga ang buhay, iwasan ang paputok.” (Life is precious, avoid firecrackers)