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.
- An estimated 8,500 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments around the fourth of July in 2021.
- Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries. Adults 25 to 44 years of age experienced about 32% of the estimated injuries, and children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 29% of the estimated injuries.
- The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (31%); head, face, and ears (21%); legs (15%); eyes (14%); trunk/other regions (10%); and arms (8%).
- 32% of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to hands and fingers. Contusions and lacerations, accounting for 21 percent of the emergency department-treated injuries, were the most common injury to the head, face, and ears.
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.