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. ▼


  • An estimated 5,200 fireworks-related injuries (or 60 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2012) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the one-month special study period between June 22, 2012 and July 22, 2012 (95 percent confidence interval 3,600–6,800).
     
  • Of the fireworks-related injuries sustained, 74 percent were to males, and 26 percent were to females.
     
  • Of the fireworks-related injuries sustained, 68 percent were to males, and 32 percent were to females.
     
  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for approximately 30 percent of the estimated 2012 injuries. Forty-six percent of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.
     
  • The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 41 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 19 percent); legs (an estimated 13 percent); and eyes (an estimated 12 percent, or 600 total).

Do not let children play with fireworks ► 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 ► 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.