Plastic surgeons at Sussex hospital back campaign for graphic images on firework packaging

It is quite an alarming image. And last year more than 4,000 people in England attended accident and emergency with an injury caused by a firework.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:52 pm
A mock up of what packaging on fireworks could look like

Now a campaign created by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) is calling for an overhaul of firework packaging in a bid to reduce the number of injuries sustained through the misuse of fireworks.

BAPRAS is suggesting the introduction of graphic images of injuries caused by fireworks to be featured on packaging. This mock up is an example of how the images could be carried on the sides of firework boxes.

According to figures from NHS Digital, in 2017 in England 4,436 individuals attended accident and emergency because of an injury caused by a firework, more than double the number in 2009-2010 (2,141). Half of those seen in hospitals between 2017-2018 were aged 18 or under and 80 per cent were male. This is despite the fact that legally you need to be aged 18 or over to buy fireworks.

That’s one of the reasons why plastic surgeons at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, who are members of BAPRAS, are supporting the association's campaign calling on the government to change the packaging of fireworks.

A number of patients from across the South East of England injured by fireworks required reconstructive surgery from specialist surgeons at the hospital, some of whom had life-changing injuries. The hospital is a leading specialist centre for reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, helping people who have been damaged or disfigured through both accidents and disease.

Baljit Dheansa, consultant plastic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “People often forget that fireworks are effectively explosives and although they may look like toys, they can cause significant injuries requiring reconstructive surgery. We are lending our support to British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons’ campaign calling on the government to include mandatory warning notices, similar to those found on cigarette packets, on all fireworks packaging.

“We want to ensure that everyone coming into contact or buying fireworks is fully aware of the potential they have to cause harm and the implications on those around them. Ultimately, we hope this change will reduce the number of people requiring reconstructive surgery primarily to their hands or face, after incorrectly using sparklers or misusing fireworks.”