A closer look at three major causes of injury in our community, identified by the doctors and nurses of our trauma team FIREWORKS THE NUMBERS — Last year, 25 people suffered serious enough injuries from fireworks to be brought to University Hospital’s trauma center — 19 of them children. Among children, injuries involving boys outnumbered girls three to one, with the most injuries involving children 9 and younger. Children burned by fireworks required a stay of more than two days in the hospital. THE PROBLEM — For many families, fireworks are a big part of holiday celebrations, particularly around July 4 and New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, fireworks also are a major cause of burns and eye injuries. Even sparklers, which many consider a safer alternative for young children, can produce temperatures of 2,000 degrees — the same heat as a blow torch. In addition to the damage and pain caused to people, fireworks also spark fires — burning homes and businesses, plants and trees. That risk is far greater in a drought-stricken environment such as South Texas. THE RECOMMENDATIONS — The best advice is to leave fireworks to the professionals. Don’t allow young children to light or play with sparklers or fireworks. Adults should supervise all fireworks activities. Many injuries are caused by lighting them carelessly. Don’t put your face, hand or any other part of your body directly over fireworks when lighting them. As soon as you light the fuse, back up to a safe distance. If they fail to ignite, do not pick them up or try to re-light them. Don’t point them at another person or shoot them off metal or glass containers. Keep a bucket of water or garden hose close in case of fire. After fireworks have burned completely, douse them with water. INJURIES FROM HORSES THE NUMBERS — Forty-nine people were injured by horses, 10 of them children. Among adults, the most injuries involved those ages 45 to 64. Among children girls were more than twice as likely as boys to suffer injuries. THE PROBLEM — Horses are a proud part of Texas’ heritage, and horseback riding — for pleasure, sport or work — is common. Unfortunately, horse-related injuries also are common. Horses weigh an average of 1,500 pounds, travel at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and can kick with the force of a moving car. The distance from the rider’s head to the ground when mounted is about nine feet. A fall from that distance can lead to serious injury — compounded if the horse tramples the rider.
2014 Community Trauma Report
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