Every Independence Day, millions of Americans gather together to celebrate liberty and witness the spectacle of a fireworks display. It’s great fun to see those colorful patterns of light in the sky. However, all too often, fireworks cause injuries that prevent people from enjoying the experience ever again. A great number of the accidents can be avoided by practicing proper fireworks safety.
It’s no secret that fireworks are dangerous. In fact, approximately 10,000 injuries are caused by fireworks each year and most occur between mid-June and mid-July. These explosive accidents can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions, and retinal detachment – all of which can result in permanent damage to your eyes and irreversible vision loss.
It’s a common misconception that some fireworks are safer than others. All are extremely dangerous and using them improperly can have devastating effects. Stay informed, practice fireworks safety, and never fall victim to these top myths:
1. MYTH: Sparklers are completely safe and can be used by young children.
Sparklers burn as hot as 1,800 degrees, which is a temperature high enough to melt some metals. Commonly thought to be harmless, sparklers are responsible for most fireworks-related injuries to children under the age of 5.
2. MYTH: Watching fireworks is safer than lighting or throwing them.
Nearby spectators are injured just as often as firework operators. The explosions send debris and chemicals soaring and have been known to cause devastating injuries to bystanders.
3. MYTH: Once a firework has been lit and put out, it’s safe to pick up.
Even though a firework may not detonate when lit and appear to be a dud, it could still be live. Do not pick it up. Keep your distance and call your local fire department to have it safely removed.
4. MYTH: Consumer fireworks are safe.
Sparklers, firecrackers, and other backyard fireworks are responsible for thousands of eye injuries. The safest way to enjoy a display this year is to attend a professional show.
Accidents still happen, even when you do everything right. If you or a loved one experiences a fireworks-related eye injury, we urge you to do the following:
• Seek emergency medical attention immediately
• Do not rub the eye; this may make the injury worse
• Do not try to rinse the eye
• Do not apply pressure to the eye
• Do not try to remove objects from the eye
• Do not apply any ointments or take pain medications before seeking medical help