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Sparklers can cause 'catastrophic burns' to children's hands, plastic surgeon warns

A plastic surgeon is warning at least one to two children every year are having part of their hand amputated because of sparkler burns.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.27 27 Oct 2021


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Sparklers can cause 'catastrop...

Sparklers can cause 'catastrophic burns' to children's hands, plastic surgeon warns

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.27 27 Oct 2021


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Children can suffer 'catastrophic burns' to their hands as a result of sparkler accidents, according to a consultant plastic surgeon.

Ms Ann McKenna says there are "at least one or two children nationally each year" who require partial hand amputations as a result.

She was speaking ahead of Halloween, which typically sees a significant increase in the use of fireworks and sparklers.

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Most fireworks in Ireland can only be legally bought and used by professional, licenced operators.

So-called 'category F1' fireworks - which include some sparklers - can be bought by the general public, and are considered 'low hazard'.

However, Ms McKenna - Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork - told Newstalk Breakfast sparklers are "not the delight we think they are".

Sparklers can cause 'catastrophic burns' to children's hands, plastic surgeon warns

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She said: “As the wire is melting, it reaches a temperature of 1,000-1,600 degrees centigrade. These are quite magical as we’re looking at them… but as the sparkler is going lower and lower, small children don’t realise the danger it is and they don’t let go.

“As a result… they sustain a catastrophic burn to their hands, which unfortunately can result in partial or total hand amputations.

“There’s at least one or two children nationally each year that require a partial hand amputation.”

As well as the risk of hand burns, Ms McKenna says the sparks from sparklers can also end up lighting some Halloween costumes on fire.

She said that is another risk to someone holding a sparkler, but also to anyone standing beside them.

She said: “We’ve also seen flame burns coming into the burn unit each year. They're really deadly.

“Halloween is just a hazard zone for children to be burned… it’s quite bothersome for plastic surgeons in particular around this time of year.”

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Oleksii Terpugov / Alamy Stock Photo

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