Fireworks injuries cause approximately 10,000 visits to the emergency department each year, most of them involve children who suffer thousands of eye injuries. Although the most disabling injuries occur with illegal firecrackers, most injuries are caused by legal fireworks parents buy for their children, such as sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and Roman candles.
Tips for at-home firework safety:
Keep a safe distance from fireworks:
A recent study found that bystanders account for 65% of people injured by fireworks. Stacy Young was one of those. She was 100 yards away when shrapnel from an illegal firework penetrated her skull. Her eye couldn't be saved and had to be removed.
Don't pick up duds and misfires:
Ohio firefighter Jay Northup took all the right precautions for his backyard Fourth of July fireworks celebration, but a decision to inspect a "dud" was almost fatal and nearly cost him his sight.
Supervise children closely:
Sparklers seem like harmless fun for children, but they cause about 1,400 eye injuries each year. Even tiny poppers or snappers can be dangerous.
Wear protective eyewear:
Buy American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved safety glasses for the entire family.
Follow these steps if an eye injury occurs:
- Call 911 immediately.
- Before the ambulance arrives, cover the eye with the bottom portion of a disposable foam or plastic cup, using tape to hold it in place. This protects the injured eye from further damage and accidental rubbing.
- The sooner the patient seeks treatment, the better the chance of preventing permanent eye damage.
Things NOT to do after an eye injury:
- Do not rub, rinse, or apply pressure to the eye.
- Do not try to remove any foreign bodies stuck in the eye.
- Do not take blood-thinning pain medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Do not stop to buy medicine.
- Do not wait to get professional help.
Eye Injuries From Fireworks Have Nearly Doubled By Robert Preidt, SUNDAY, June 30, 2019