9-Year-Old Girl Loses Hand, Sustains Blast Injuries To Her Face From Fireworks

A 9-year-old girl in Southern California lost her hand and fingers on Saturday due to fireworks. Fox News reports that the incident occurred around 12:30 p.m. at Compton Park. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that the girl also sustained severe injuries to her face.

The victim was rushed to a local hospital where her left hand had to be amputated. She is in stable condition.

According to the Los Angeles Times, illegal fireworks were involved. No arrests have been made and the case is currently under investigation.

The park where the 9-year-old girl lost her hand and fingers from fireworks happened at Burrell-MacDonald Park in Compton.

The Fourth of July brings a spate of accidents from fireworks. CNN cites research data from the University of Louisville that shows the increase in firework injuries. The main age group most at risk of being injured due to fireworks are those 20 and under. Researchers fault relaxed U.S. laws in regards to the use of fireworks.

In the last 10 years, emergency room doctors have reported both an increase in the number of people hurt and the severity of the injuries from fireworks among younger individuals. They concluded that the number of patients younger than 21 were treated and released between 2006 and 2012 moderately increased from 4.28 per 100,000 people in 2006 to 5.12 in 2012. Notable increases were in injuries that necessitated inpatient hospital treatment, which dramatically spiked from 29 percent of cases in 2006 to 50 percent in 2012.

Laws that regulate the sales of fireworks have gotten lenient. For instance, sparklers, party poppers, and cone fountains were legalized in some New York counties. Delaware, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, are the only three states that have an “outright ban on consumer fireworks,” according to the report.

“Although our findings do not prove a direct link to relaxations in state laws governing fireworks sales, it may be time for lawmakers to reassess this issue,” said Dr. Charles Wood, a researcher in the study, and associate chairman of pediatrics at the University of Louisville.

Lead study author, John Myers, said they are currently focusing on states that have stronger regulations on fireworks compared to those with weaker ones. He says it there is some insight into “examining if rates of injury increase after a law has been relaxed in a given state. We are seeing that by about two years after a law has weakened, the injury rate starts to noticeably increase.”

The American Pyrotechnics Association argues against the study conducted by the University of Louisville. Conversely, the association’s executive director Julie Heckman said that injuries related to fireworks has “declined rapidly as the usage of fireworks have increased dramatically. The relaxation of the consumer fireworks is improving the injury rate and the fire rate.”

Myers says data from the association greatly differs for a host of reasons, but mostly because of the varying denominators used for analysis; the association uses data as injury rate per pounds of fireworks purchased. The data does not directly analyze any one age group, which Myers emphasizes make comparisons impossible. Moreover, the association does not take into account “whether the increase in pounds of fireworks sold is due to individual consumers or city-level purchasers.”

Young people enjoy showing off and like to use fireworks as a means of impressing friends, which is something Heckman notes.

“In terms of severity of injuries requiring hospital treatment, we are very concerned about the misuse of fireworks and have seen an increase in injuries among youth that have used fireworks in videos unsafely to impress their friends or to get a laugh, and they share these dangerous videos on YouTube,” Heckman said.

It is not clear what kind of fireworks the 9-year-old girl lost her hand to. This will certainly bring fireworks laws under more scrutiny as injuries like this get national attention.

[Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images]