The Fourth of July is drawing near and the celebration is underway, and while many people enjoy celebrating the holiday by lighting off fireworks, it may be best to leave the explosions to the experts — especially when there are kids around.
While the incendiary devices can be dangerous to anyone, children and teens are often the victims. Their eyes are among the most frequently injured, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. So, if you choose to stage your own private fireworks show, check out these EyeSmart fireworks safety tips first.
Of the roughly 9,000 fireworks-related injuries each year, 21 percent are eye injuries and more than half of the victims are young children or teenagers. And it's not just the powerful flying fireworks that are a risk. Even a fountain of sparks can pose a danger if it is not handled properly or if the fuse isn't long enough.
[To be considered legal in Rhode Island, fireworks must remain stationary on the ground and can not fire projectiles into the air.]
“Many Americans get caught up in the excitement of the Fourth of July, and forget that fireworks are also dangerous explosives,” said Monica L. Monica, an ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The safest choice is to attend a professional fireworks display, and make it a point to supervise children at all times.”
Even sparklers are dangerous. Sparklers typically burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and cause 27 percent of all fireworks injuries, including third-degree burns, the academy reports. Bottle rockets cause some of the most serious eye injuries. Errant bottle rockets can injure bystanders and cause eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball and even complete blindness. One in every six fireworks-related eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness.
To prevent eye injuries, follow these EyeSmart tips:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
- View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- If you find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them. Contact the fire or police departments.