MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reminded parents and caregivers to keep an eye on their children against using firecrackers for the New Year revelries. 

In a press briefing at East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said firecracker injuries can cause lifetime disabilities that can affect children's potential as productive citizens of the country. 

Duque said that loss of hands or even fingers alone can have a very difficult and painful consequence in the future. 

“Ang kamay napakaimportante po niya para makalikha ng mga bagay-bagay. May kaakibat po ng pangangalakal ang paghahanapbuhay Napakaimportante po ng ating mga kamay, mga daliri. Kaya ako po ay nakikiusap sa mga inay, itay, sa mga kuya. sa mga ate, sa mga tiyuhin, tiyahin, bantayan po ninyo ang inyo pong mga anak," said Duque. 

Duque made the reminder as he asked the parents/caregivers to ensure that any firecrackers that they are possibly keeping be out of reach of children. 

“If possible bury them in soil and be sure to place them in a place that cannot be reached by children)," the Health chief added. 

The reminder was mad as he noted that cases of injuries caused by firecrackers mostly affect children. 

"Statistics reveal that most firecracker victims reported belong to the less than 15-years age group (70 cases or 81 percent). 

He also added that based on the Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction 2017 Report recorded from 6 a.m. of December 21 to 6 a.m. of December 31, out of the four cases of amputations, two of them are children aged 12 and 13 years old. 

To date, as of the latest monitoring of DOH or the 10th day of surveillance period, there were a total of 86 cases of fireworks-related injuries after nine additional injuries were recorded for the said period. 

"This figure is 130 (60 percent) cases lower than the five-year (2012-2016) average and 76 cases (47 percent) lower than the same time period last year," he said 

From the total of 86 current cases recorded through Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction 2017 Report, 44 of them or 51 percent were found to have happened in the National Capital Region. 

Manila's 25 cases lead in NCR with the most number of firework-related injuries. 

Eighty-two of the victims are male. Around 59 have sustained injuries in the hands. 

The DOH also noted that 64 patients that sustained injuries had admitted having used illegal fireworks, 54 of them caused by Piccolo. (PNA)