Celebrate July 4th Safely

Nearly 6,000 Americans spent part of their Fourth of July holiday in the emergency room in 2009 due to fireworks injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  Of those, fireworks caused an estimated 1,600 eye injuries. The injuries included contusions, lacerationsand foreign bodies in the eye.  Some injuries even caused permanent vision loss.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “safe and sane” fireworks cause more injuries than illegal fireworks, especially to preschool children.  For children under the age of 5, half of the total injuries were from sparklers. Children ages 15 and younger make up a significant number of fireworks injuries, accounting for 39 percent. 

Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlantic supports the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except for authorizedpublic displays by competent licensed operators. The non-profit group believes it is the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage. 

We encourage everyone to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday this year without using consumer fireworks,” said Tim Gresham, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlantic.  “Whether you’re attending community events, family picnics or public displays by fireworks professionals, we wish you and your family a safe Independence Day.”

Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlantic offers the “Safe Summer Celebrations” brochure free to parents.  The brochure offers creative tips on celebrating safely for kids and adults.  Suggestions include everything from face-painting, to making patriotic desserts, to creating glow-in-the-dark t-shirts and hats with special paints and markers.

In case of an eye-related accident, Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlanticalso offers its “First Aid for Eye Emergencies” sticker in both English and Spanish, free to the public, and recommends the following should an eye injury occur:

If there are specks in the eye,

  • DO NOT rub the eye.
  • Use an eye wash or let tears wash out specks or particles;
  • Lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid;
  • If the speck doesn’t wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage and see a doctor or go to the emergency room.

If the eye or eyelid is cut or punctured,

  • DO NOT wash out the eye with water.
  • DO NOT try to remove an object stuck in the eye.
  • Cover the eye with a rigid shield without pressure.  The bottom half of a paper cup may be used.  See a doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

For more information on fireworks safety, or to request a free copy of the Safe Summer Celebrations brochure or the First Aid for Eye Emergencies sticker, Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlanticat (888) 790-2020or log on to