x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Doctor warns of psychological risk to children from fireworks

Youngsters could develop aggressive behaviour or grow up with phobias from bad experiences with fireworks, an Abu Dhabi doctor says.

ABU DHABI // Children who play with fireworks are at risk of developing psychological problems, a police doctor said. Dr Safaa, from Abu Dhabi police medical services, said youngsters could develop aggressive behaviour or grow up with phobias from bad experiences with fireworks, which could have long-term consequences. "While a sense of enmity develops between children playing with fireworks, especially when competing with each other, other children generate a sense of fear when hearing the sound of fireworks, or seeing the smoke and flames," Dr Safaa said.

In addition to psychological effects, the dangers from playing with fireworks can be serious injuries, such as losing an eye, burns and loss of hearing. Moreover, said Dr Safaa, children with respiratory problems could suffer frequent asthma attacks from the smoke that spreads from fireworks. The police launched a campaign on Monday to reduce firework accidents, especially among children, during the Eid al Fitr celebrations. The initiative will use advertisements, school and visits by police to warn of the dangers of mishandling fireworks.

Images of children seriously injured by fireworks were also released by the police. Earlier this week, Lt Col Hameed al Afreet, head of arms and explosives for Abu Dhabi Police, called on the Government to punish those who improperly use fireworks. He asked the public to report any illegal use of fireworks by calling 999, so the police could confiscate them and question those responsible for providing them.

Teenagers should not use fireworks, he stressed, as he called for strict punishments for those who do. Fireworks smuggled into the UAE are often sold as "games" at grocery stores to attract children, said police. The importance of parental guidance was also stressed as a way of educating children not to play or use fireworks. @Email:hdajani@thenational.ae