In the month surrounding the Fourth of July, an average of 280 people go to the emergency room each day with fireworks-related injuries.
This July, Eye Care Professionals encourages our community to take care and practice fireworks safety when using backyard fireworks.
Fireworks safety 101
Every year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publishes an annual report about fireworks-related injuries and deaths. Last year, fireworks were involved in five deaths and an estimated 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. More than half of these injuries (62%) occurred between June 22ndand July 22nd.
Although people most frequently injure their hands (28% of all fireworks-related injuries) and legs (24% of all injuries), eye injuries are also very common, making up 19% of all fireworks-related injuries.
Fireworks can result in chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, or even a ruptured globe, all of which can result in permanent vision loss.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following safety tips when using fireworks:
- Do not allow young children to play with fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers can get up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and can even melt some metals.
- Older children should only use fireworks under close adult supervision.
- Make sure to set off fireworks outside in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves, grass, or any other flammable materials.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dark place.
- Never light fireworks in a container.
- Do not attempt to relight or handle fireworks that fail to explode. Soak them with water before disposing of them.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over the firework as you’re lighting it.
- Always obey local laws.
If you suspect that you or your child has experienced an eye injury from a firework, what should you do?
- Seek immediate medical attention. A fireworks-related eye injury is considered a medical emergency.
- Do not rub your eyes.
- Do not apply pressure.
- Do not attempt to rinse your eyes.
- Do not attempt to remove the object.
- Do not take any pain medication unless instructed to by a doctor.
Keep in mind that people who don’t handle the fireworks can still be injured by them. A study found that 65% of people injured by fireworks are bystanders.
Our entire staff at Eye Care Professionals is excited to wish you a safe and happy summer! Don’t forget these safety tips the next time you handle fireworks. For more information about our eye care services, contact us today.