Fireworks on the Fourth of July go together like hot dogs and hamburgers, ketchup and mustard, and lemonade and iced tea. It only seems fitting to set off bottle rockets, firecrackers and sparklers when reading the lyrics to our national anthem: “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” The desire exists inside every patriotic heart to illuminate the night sky in honor of America.
Fireworks and Eye Injury
As thrilling as it is to see the brilliant colors of fireworks, there is nothing more tragic than an injury resulting from ignoring safety precautions. About 200 individuals have to make a visit to the emergency room from injuries related to fireworks per day in July and 60 percent of fireworks injuries happen on July 4. Thirty-one percent of fireworks injuries involve the eyes or face and can cause permanent vision loss or blindness (Source: United States Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Here are a few tips to protect the eyes around fireworks:
- Don’t use fireworks at home. Let professional pyrotechnicians set off fireworks safely.
- View fireworks from a safe distance.
- Pay attention to barriers that are set up for fireworks viewing. They are there for your protection.
- If you find unlit fireworks, do not handle them yourself. Call your local fire department.
It is not just good enough to know and observe these rules as an adult. Teach your children about fireworks safety as well (Source: Cooper Vision).
Safe Fireworks Viewing
Even an observer can be injured when watching fireworks being set off. Children under the age of 15 are the most likely to be injured so instruct children to stay with you at all times. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a festival or community celebration. These types of spectaculars are well-organized, safe, rarely lead to injury and offer a much better quality of fireworks than can be purchased. There really is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks.
Here are some fun, safe ways to enjoy fireworks by attending a community celebration:
- Look in the newspaper— Have the kids help find all the local gatherings and let them help choose which celebration to attend. Parks, large sporting events, science museums and festivals are just a few locations to find professional fireworks displays.
- Make an event of it— Pack a picnic dinner. Buy special food and treats. Bake or purchase holiday cookies and buy festive napkins and plates.
- Choose your space early— Sometimes the best seat for fireworks is not in the front row. Ask someone who is working at the festival where the best viewing spots will be.
- Illuminate— Fireworks are set off at dark, and it’s difficult to see. Bring glow sticks and flashlights so you can find all your personal items and clean your area before leaving.
- Bring friends— It’s always more fun when friends join you. Invite neighbors or another family to join you. Special times like holidays are meant to be shared.