What does your Fourth of July involve? A barbecue? A parade? Wearing a lot of red, white, and blue?
Fireworks are most likely on your list, and they certainly set this particular holiday apart. However, if we aren’t careful when enjoying fireworks, we could easily become seriously injured. Fireworks aren’t merely a pretty spectacle, they are explosives. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported in 2021 that around 15,600 people had to go to the hospital due to fireworks-related injuries and at least 18 people actually died from them. Eye injuries make up about 15% of fireworks injuries.
Are Fireworks Really Dangerous?
Yes. Even something as innocent as a sparkler can burn as hot as 3000°F. Fireworks throw live sparks and tiny bits of shrapnel. Any of these can cause permanent vision loss if they reach an eye. Please treat these fun pyrotechnic devices as explosives and take appropriate precautions to minimize the risk of injuries.
Your Fireworks Safety Checklist
The biggest safety tip we can offer when it comes to fireworks is to stay out of range. Sometimes fireworks go in the wrong direction, but if you’re at a safe distance and enjoying a professional fireworks display when that happens, you still won’t be injured. If you’re the type who loves doing your own fireworks, you should always follow these rules:
- Read all instructions for any fireworks you’ll be using carefully and follow them!
- DO NOT aim fireworks of any size at people, animals, or yourself.
- DO NOT look into the unexploded tube of a live firework to check if it’s a dud.
- Always wear safety goggles while working closely with fireworks. Even this simple measure could mean you walk away from a mishap uninjured instead of with permanent vision loss.
- Make sure any child using fireworks is closely supervised (though young children should be kept away from all fireworks, including firecrackers and sparklers).
- Obey all local and state regulations about fireworks.
- Do not handle fireworks after consuming alcohol.
If an Accident Does Happen
Anyone following all of these safety tips should be safe from most potential fireworks injuries, but an accident can still happen to the best-prepared among us. If a piece of a firework is stuck in an injured eye, leave it in place. Tape a cup over the eye in question to protect it from other damage, and prevent the injured person from touching it. Go directly to an emergency room. The sooner medical attention begins, the better the chances are of recovery.
Have a Fun and Safe Independence Day!
We hope our patients all have a wonderful 4th of July with all of their favorite people. Take care to avoid fireworks injuries, and if you’d like more tips on keeping your celebrations safe for everyone attending, just give us a call or email us.