HawaiI Department of Health Report: Hawaii Residents Injured by Fireworks During New Year’s Eve Celebrations

article top

*Background: The Injury Prevention Program of the Hawaii Department of Health annually collects information on fireworks-related injuries that require medical attention over the New Year period. (The New Year period is defined as December 31st through January 2nd.) Data was collected from the emergency departments (EDs) of all hospitals in the state (22 in total) and 2 health centers (Hana and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center).

*Results: A total of 22 injuries were treated at EDs in Hawaii. This was by far the lowest total over the 12- year period for which these injuries have been counted, and more than 4 times lower than the annual average of 96 injuries over the last 5 years (graph). Most of the decrease was seen in Honolulu County, from 79 injuries last year to only 15 this year. There were 2 injuries reported from Hawaii County, 4 from Kauai, and 1 from Maui County. The 7 injuries was the lowest combined total from Neighbor Islands so far recorded.


* The age of the patients ranged from 3 to 55 years, with nearly half (45%, or 8 patients) under 18 years of age. Most of the patients (82%) were males.

*Most (77%) of the patients were discharged from the EDs, but 5 were admitted to hospitals. The total of 5 serious injuries was higher than most years, which has varied from none to 7 since the 2006/2007 holiday.

Two of the patients required EMS transport to the hospital, both of whom were admitted to hospitals.

Click on Image to enlarge

*Other findings:

– Most of the injuries (86%, or 19) were burns.

-Hands and fingers (10 injuries) the most commonly injured body areas, followed by injuries to the head, face and eyes (7), or legs (4).

– Most (88%) patients were injured while setting off or holding the firework; 12% observing.

– Data on the type of firework were missing for half (11) of the patients. Five injuries were caused by

“firecrackers”, and 1 injury each from “flowers”, sparklers, an aerial “mortar”, ignited gunpowder, and a homemade pipe bomb. The injuries from the mortar, gunpowder, and pipe bomb all required hospital admission.

*Although fireworks-related injuries continue to be a significant cause of trauma around the New Year period, particularly among young children, this year’s low total validates the effectiveness of the Honolulu County ordinance to regulate their use.