With fewer public gatherings for firework displays this Fourth of July holiday due to COVID-19, many health experts expect that more individuals will purchase and light fireworks for their own personal use this weekend. While fireworks are a beautiful and time-honored tradition associated with the holiday, it’s important that you take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there are 9,000 fireworks-related injuries each year in the U.S. Thirty percent of those are eye injuries, and one-fourth of those eye injuries result in blindness. What’s more, children account for the majority of fireworks-injury victims, and for children under 5, sparklers — which burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause third-degree burns — account for one-third of fireworks-related injuries.
For these reasons, the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages you to follow these recommendations:
- Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
- View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- Follow directives given by event ushers and public safety personnel.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police department.
- If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.
If you do decide to shoot off fireworks yourself, be sure to follow all safety precautions, protect your eyes, and keep children a safe distance away. The staff at Saving Sight wishes you a safe and fun-filled Independence Day weekend.
Sources: EyeSmart and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.