As we celebrate America’s birthday, nothing is more festive than fireworks. Sparklers, firecrackers and rockets are great fun, but they require special attention and care when considering your safety and the people surrounding you. Each July 4 holiday, about 11,000 Americans are injured using fireworks and 18 percent of the injuries are damage to the eyes. Only skin burns constitute a higher percentage of fireworks injuries. Most eye injuries are from sky rockets or bottle rockets. When you set off fireworks, you are putting your eyes at risk to many types of damage including eye burns, abrasions, cuts, retinal detachments, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball and total blindness.
Eye injuries from fireworks often have life-altering consequences. One-third of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent eye damage and one-fourth result in partial vision loss and blindness. Sadly, child spectators under the age of 15 are most frequently injured because they are not instructed about the importance of safety barriers and maintaining safe distances. One of the biggest causes of injuries on July 4? You guessed it! Sparklers. Burning at 1800 degrees, sparklers are hot enough to melt gold and are certainly dangerous enough to cause permanent eye damage (Source: SafetyGlassesUSA).
Most of these injuries could be prevented by learning basic firework safety. Before you light up the sky this July, take some time to research the risks associated with fireworks and take precautions to protect yourself against eye injury.
Here are some tips for how you can be safe on July 4:
- Keep fireworks away from children and never allow children to set off fireworks, even while supervised.
- Ask spectators to view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Have children, family members and friends respect safety barriers so fireworks can be exploded safely.
- The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to let trained professionals do the lighting. Instead of purchasing fireworks yourself at a local fireworks store, consider going to a local festival and viewing a show in your area.
- If you find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them. Contact your local police or fire department.
- If there is an injury due to fireworks, get medical attention immediately by calling 911.