Physicians at Atrium Health Navicent Offer Safety Tips for Celebrating New Year’s Holidays
When making plans to ring in the new year, Atrium Health Navicent physicians urge the community to stay safe behind the wheel. Since 2000, more than 230,000 people have lost their lives in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In 2020, an estimated 11,654 fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired crashes. This number represented 30 percent of all traffic fatalities that year and a 14 percent increase over 2019. When people are impaired by alcohol, they may have poor judgment, impaired visual functions, declines in coordination and reduced reaction time. Even when people don’t appear drunk, small amounts of alcohol may impair driving skills, according to the NHTSA.
The National Safety Council reports that the three-hour period with the highest percentage of driver fatalities with blood- alcohol contents of 0.08 percent or higher is midnight to 3 a.m. — prime time for driving home from New Year’s Eve festivities.
“For many people, New Year’s is a time for celebration with family and friends, but it’s important to keep safety in mind. If your celebration includes alcohol, be sure to either have a designated driver or to stay at home. Also don’t light fireworks while intoxicated,” said Dr. John Wood, medical director for the Emergency Center at Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center.
If New Year’s celebrations involve fireworks, it’s also important to take precautions to ensure those celebrations remain safe.
In 2021, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments, and resulted in 9 deaths, according to a report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Young adults, aged 20 to 24, were the most likely to be treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. The most common injuries included burns to the hands and fingers (31 percent), along with head, face and ears.
Fireworks — including sparklers and flares — can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing.
Emergency and trauma physicians at Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center, a nationally verified Level I Trauma Center, encourage celebrants to protect themselves and their children from fireworks injuries by following these tips:
- Handle and use fireworks in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and all warning labels.
- Light fireworks on smooth, flat surfaces and aim them away from buildings, dry leaves, flammable materials
- Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction. Soak them in water and then throw them away.
- Do not modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then quickly move back.
- Do not shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers.
- Keep a phone and a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy.
- Familiarize yourself with first aid for burns.
- Adults should actively supervise all children when they are near fireworks.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures
of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.
After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from
Amy Leigh Womack:
a bucket or hose before discarding the device.
Physicians also urge revelers to avoid firing guns in celebration of the holiday. Bullets returning to the ground due to celebratory gunfire can cause serious injury or even death for bystanders in the area.
“Teammates staffing our emergency center typically sees an increase in fireworks–related injuries on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Taking a few easy safety precautions – and not participating in celebratory gunfire – can help ensure you’re able to enjoy the holiday safely,” Wood said.
If an accident or injury occurs, seek appropriate medical treatment. For emergency situations, call 911 or seek care at the
emergency center. Atrium Health Navicent offers emergency care at the following locations:
- Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center (770 Pine St., Macon)
- Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital (888 Pine St., Macon)
- Atrium Health Navicent Peach (1960 Hwy 247 Connector, Byron)
- Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin (821 North Cobb St., Milledgeville)
- Monroe County Hospital, an Atrium Health Navicent Partner (88 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Forsyth)
- Putnam General Hospital, an Atrium Health Navicent Partner (101 Greensboro Road, Eatonton)
For non-life-threatening injuries, visit your nearest urgent care provider. Atrium Health Navicent provides urgent care at three Macon locations.
- Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care North (3400 Riverside Drive, Macon)
- Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care East (1339 Gray Highway, Macon)
- Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care Northwest (5925 Zebulon Road, Macon)
About Atrium Health Navicent
Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and well- being through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.