Fireworks safety is paramount on this holiday. Injuries routinely occur because fireworks are mishandled. Eye injuries have doubled in recent years. The most recent fireworks report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed that fireworks were the cause of over 1,300 eye injuries treated by doctors in 2014.
- All fireworks are dangerous and need to be handled by adults. Sparklers, which are often played with by children, can reach temperatures of over 2,000 degrees. That’s hot enough to melt metal. If those sparks hit your eye, they can do severe damage.
- Even though a firework appears to be a dud, it may still be active. Sometimes we are disappointed because there was no action when we lit the fuse. That may not be the case. Many accidents occur because someone was quick to handle a dud and it exploded in his/her face. It is best to douse a dud with water to make sure it does not ignite.
- Stand at a safe distance when watching someone light fireworks. Many injuries involve bystanders. This can happen when an explosive device is not properly staged for use. Imagine a bottle rocket being lit and the bottle tipping over just as it ignites. Its trajectory is unpredictable.
- Leave it to the professionals. Many municipalities have professional fireworks shows for the public. These displays can be inspiring and viewed from a safe distance.
Remember that in the event of an eye injury, avoid rubbing or rinsing, do not remove any debris and seek medical attention immediately.
About the Author
Sara E. Stoneburner, MD