On the 4th of July, safety is just as important as fun. Everyone enjoys a firework display, but these colorful and fabulous pyrotechnic displays can be unpredictable if not managed carefully. Accidents and injuries that occur as a result of mishandled fireworks are common and can have very serious consequences—one of which is losing your vision.
The statistics relating to firework-based eye injuries are fairly shocking. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are around 8,500 firework injuries in the U.S. each year, with around 2000 of those being eye injuries. As many as a third of these result in permanent damage to the eye, and around a quarter lead to permanent, partial or total vision loss. Additionally, nearly 1 in every 20 firework-related eye injury results in the removal of the injured eye.
The vision experts at Grin Eye Care are committed to ensuring that our patients can enjoy the 4th of July without worry. With that in mind, here are our top 8 firework safety tips.
1. Discuss safety tips with your kids ahead of 4th of July
One of the best ways to keep your family safe this 4th of July is to keep them well-informed about the potential dangers of fireworks if they aren’t respected. Show them this firework safety video which is designed to explain some of the key dangers of fireworks and sparklers to kids.
2. Always wear safety goggles
Did you know that the vast majority of eye injuries can be prevented by using the correct safety glasses? There are lots of options for safety eyewear available, and something to suit every budget. If you are handling fireworks, be certain to invest in a pair of safety goggles to eliminate the risk of damage to your eyes.
3. Don’t let your children light fireworks
Many kids crave the opportunity to light a firework for themselves, and we know how difficult it can be to disappoint them. However, fireworks should never be lit by children, no matter how persistent they may be. There are many risks involved if they do, from burning themselves to accidentally knocking the rocket over or positioning their body so that they become hurt. Encourage your children to stand back and enjoy the show instead.
4. Be aware of your surroundings
Planning is essential when it comes to setting up a firework display. Lighting fireworks close to buildings or trees run the risk of starting a fire or having a rocket ricochet back into the audience. You will also need to take wind direction into account. If you are attending a firework display rather than letting off your own, be sure to stand within the safety areas set out by the organizers. Don’t let your children out of your sight and stay upwind of any bonfires that may be lit so that you aren’t covered in burning ash or other debris.
5. Be sparkler savvy
They may not be setting off rockets, but chances are your kids will be handling sparklers on the 4th of July. Sparklers are the number one cause of firework injuries in the U.S. as these innocent-looking mini-pyrotechnics can get up to an incredible 1800 degrees Fahrenheit! There are just as many precautions to make when using these hand-held fireworks, such as lighting them one at a time, holding them at arm’s length and not pointing them at other people. Make sure your child knows the do’s and don’ts of sparklers and is supervised at all times.
6. Don’t mess with unexploded fireworks
Sometimes, a lit firework fails to explode. Although this can be frustrating, don’t be tempted to approach it. There is a significant risk that it could go off when you least expect it. Instead, at the end of the display douse it in water to make it safe.
7. Always keep a bucket of water nearby
Whether it is to extinguish fireworks, put out unexploded ones or in the event of an injury, to rinse off a burn, when lighting fireworks, it is always prudent to have a bucket or two of water nearby.
8. Be a responsible spectator
Even if you aren’t running the firework display yourself, you have a responsibility to keep yourself and those around you as safe as possible. As many as a quarter of all eye injuries caused by fireworks happen to spectators who don’t respect the danger they pose and do not adhere to the safety guidelines implemented by the organizers. Follow the rules, use common sense and you should be able to enjoy the display safely.
If you would like more information on firework safety for your eyes, our experienced eye doctors will be happy to provide additional advice. Contact us today with your questions or make an appointment with one of our vision experts in Olathe or Leawood.