Focus on Eye Safety During the Fireworks Season

Recognizing Fireworks Safety Month, July 2011

Fireworks Safety

Radiant colors burst in the air as the crowd cheers and claps: Fireworks are a favorite entertainment activity throughout the world. Although the glowing lights of fireworks are beautiful, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises people to enjoy fireworks during a professional show instead of setting them off at home.

Each year during Fireworks Safety Month, thousands of Americans are hurt while using consumer fireworks. At least half of the accidents result in injuries to the head, with one-third involving a wound to the eyes. About one-fourth of these eye injuries result in permanent vision loss.

Consider these startling statistics related to accidents involving home fireworks:

  • At least half of eye injuries from fireworks involve kids age 15 and younger
  • Accidents with sparklers are responsible for one-third of all fireworks injuries; sparklers can burn at more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, causing a third-degree burn
  • Serious eye injuries often involve bottle rockets that shoot out of control and may cause abrupt trauma to the individual lighting it or to individuals standing nearby, resulting in eyelid lacerations, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, eye muscle damage and blindness

The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises Americans to view fireworks from at least 500 feet away, leave lighting of fireworks to trained professionals and never let children play with fireworks of any type. If an eye injury does occur from fireworks, do not rub the eye or try to remove an object stuck in the eye, but immediately seek medical assistance.

If your older children enjoy lighting fireworks during the Fourth of July, be sure they are supervised and know the risks involved with setting off explosives.

What is your favorite way to celebrate Independence Day? Do you prefer a professional fireworks display, neighborhood event or a family activity in the park or at home? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group