Prevent Blindness warns that there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks. The safest way to enjoy the splendor and excitement of fireworks is 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 were involved in an estimated 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2018 (the latest year for which data is available).
- An estimated 5,600 fireworks-related injuries (or 62 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2018) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the 1-month special study period between June 22, 2018 and July 22, 2018.
- Males accounted for 64% of fireworks injuries.
- 36% of fireworks injuries were to children under age 15.
- Children 10 to 14 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries (5.2 injuries per 100,000 people). Older teens, 15 to 19 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate (3.1 injuries per 100,000 people). .
- There were an estimated 500 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and 200 with bottle rockets.
- The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 28 percent); legs (an estimated 24 percent); eyes (an estimated 19 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 15 percent); and arms (an estimated 4 percent).
- Fifty-four percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers and arms.
- On average, 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
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.
If an accident does occur, minimize the damage to the eye. In the event of an eye emergency:
- 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.
Prevent Blindness 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.