Expert Tips to Prevent Fireworks Eye Injuries
The thrill of putting on an epic neighborhood fireworks show for your family is a tantalizing Fourth of July holiday tradition. Sure, you’re aware of the fire danger, the cost of do-it-yourself pyrotechnics and the warnings about setting them off properly. But you’ve never had a problem before. And you’re hardly the only one shooting off a few harmless street firecrackers, right?
Doctors at the Eye Medical Center of Fresno hope you know the best part about your favorite summer holiday is keeping your eyesight. You want to see more of those light displays in the future, right? You don’t want to become part of these statistics due to poor handling of bottle rockets or sparklers:
- According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report, there were more than 10,000 injuries and 12 deaths resulting from firework episodes in 2019.
- Not afraid for yourself? You should know that a 2017 study found that 65 percent of those injured by fireworks were spectators gathered around to take in the spectacle of whistling, crackling, flashing projectiles.
- Most injuries since 1999 have involved children at their own homes. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 1 out of 4 injuries are to minors, and boys are twice as likely to be hurt than girls. Facial burns, debris flying into eyes and smoke irritation were the most common types of wounds.
- The American Pyrotechnics Association estimates Americans spend $1 billion a year on fireworks. A 2018 CNBC report showed Californians spend more than $13 million on pyrotechnics. The cost of medical bills and lost eyesight is much greater on individuals.
Tips for at-home firework safety:
1. Wear protective eyewear
Goggles or safety glasses, which can be found at any hardware store, are a good idea for everyone in your party.
2. Stay away from duds or misfires
Keep a bucket of water nearby to douse embers and clean up after you’re done
3. Watch children carefully
Advise kids twirling those sparkers to hold the thin hot sticks away from their bodies and don’t poke other people.
4. Don’t drink and fire
It probably goes without saying, but don’t mix fireworks with alcoholic beverages. Make sure you and anyone helping you aren’t feeling the effects of liquor or heat that could impair your judgement.
5. Seek medical attention immediately
In the event that you injured by fireworks, resist the urge to rub your eyes, hold them tightly or wash them out. Leave any objects stuck in your eye there for a professional to remove.