Prevent Eye Injuries from Fireworks!

Prevent Blindness America warns that there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks. It is only safe to enjoy the splendor and excitement of fireworks at a professional display.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in thousands of  injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms each year.

Most fireworks injuries occur during the one month period surrounding the Fourth of July.Most fireworks injuries occur during the one month period surrounding the Fourth of July.

  • Fireworks devices were involved in an estimated 10,500 injuries
    treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2014 (the latest year
    for which data is available).
  • An estimated 7,000 injuries were treated in hospital emergency
    rooms during the one-month period (June 20–July 20)
    surrounding the Fourth of July.
  • 19 percent, or 1,200, of those injuries were to the eyes.
    Sparklers accounted for 1,400 injuries, firecrackers (1,400) and
    bottle rockets (100).
  • Males accounted for 74% of fireworks injuries.
  • 40% of fireworks injuries were to children under age 15.
  • For children under 5 years old, sparklers accounted for the most
    estimated injuries for that specific age group.
  • Data from the U.S. Eye Injury Registry shows that bystanders are
    more often injured by fireworks than operators themselves.
  • Contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies were the most
    common injuries to eyes.
  • There were 11 fireworks-related deaths in 2014.

Do not let children play with fireworks

Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July, but there are precautions parents can take to prevent these injuries. The best defense against kids suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let kids play with any fireworks.

Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type.

Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks. Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous.

Prevent Blindness America supports the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks, except those used in authorized public displays by licensed operators, as the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.

If an accident does occur, minimize the damage to the eye If an accident does occur, minimize the damage to the eye

These six steps can help save your child's sight.

  • Do not rub the eye. Rubbing the eye may increase bleeding or make the injury worse.
  • Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing.
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye itself. Holding or taping a foam cup or the bottom of a juice carton to the eye are just two tips. Protecting the eye from further contact with any item, including the child's hand, is the goal.
  • Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin (should never be given to children) and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the child to the emergency room at once - this is more important than stopping for a pain reliever.
  • Do not apply ointment. Ointment, which may not be sterile, makes the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.
  • Do not let your child play with fireworks, even if his/her friends are setting them off. Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees Farenheit, and bottle rockets can stray off course or throw shrapnel when they explode.

Download and share our free fireworks fact sheets!

Facts About Fireworks Injuries

FIreworks Eye Injury Safety Quiz