Your Child's Sight

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks Eye Injuries Can Be Prevented

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.

  • According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks devices were involved in an estimated 9,700 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2023, (the latest year for which data is available).
  • An estimated 6,400 fireworks related injuries (or 66% of the total estimated fireworks related injuries in 2023) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments surrounding the 4th of July period.
  • Males accounted for 67% of fireworks injuries.
  • 31% of fireworks injuries were to children under age 15.
  • 42% of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands and fingers.
  • The parts of the body most often injured (estimated) were hands and fingers (35%); head, face, and ears (22%); eyes (19%); trunk/other region (11%); legs (8%); and arms (5%).

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.

These Six Steps Can Help Save Your Child's Sight

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.

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.

Safe Summer Celebrations

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Our Position

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.

Free Fireworks Fact Sheets to Print and Share

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