The Department of Health on Thursday strongly advised parents and caregivers to keep a watchful eye on children this holiday season.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said children aged 5-9 were among the most vulnerable during last year’s holiday celebration and suffered the most number of injuries.
“We are continuously communicating to the public the dangers of fireworks use,” said Duque.
He said the DOH is advocating alternative and equally enjoyable ways of celebrating the holidays and welcoming the New Year without the risk of physical harm.
“I enjoin everyone to participate in the Iwas Paputok,” said Duque.
He maintained that all firecrackers are dangerous so there is a need to avoid using them.
He said community fireworks displays, street parties, musical concerts, horns, among others, are safer and more festive alternatives to lighting up firecrackers.
Records from the Department of Health showed that a total 340 cases recorded from Dec. 21, 2018 to Jan. 5 this year, 338 were fireworks-related injuries, while two were cases of fireworks ingestion.
Of the 338 injuries due to fireworks, 275 (81 percent) were males, and 80 (24 percent) belonged to the 5-9 years age group. Age range of cases were from two to 76 years old.
Most cases came from the National Capital Region (123 cases or 36 percent), Ilocos Region (52 cases or 15 percent), and Western Visayas (51 cases or 15 percent).
About 78 percent of cases sustained blast or burn injuries that did not require amputation. The top five body parts injured were the hand (45 percent), eye (25 percent), head and legs (10 percent), and forearm/arm (9 percent).
Injuries were caused by both legal and prohibited fireworks. Accounting for most of the recorded injuries were kwitis (22 percent), luces (12 percent), piccolo and boga (6 percent each), and triangle (5 percent).