July 4th is just a few days away… and that means, FIREWORKS! Attending professional fireworks is a great way to celebrate our nation’s independence, but setting off fireworks at home can be dangerous. As a pediatric ophthalmologist, I see eye injuries in children and adults every year from fireworks, and most of them are very preventable. Some injuries can be as devastating as a ruptured globe of the eye, which can cause lifelong blindness.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s 2014 report about injuries from fireworks estimated 10,500 fireworks injuries were treated in US hospitals. Nearly 35 percent of these injuries occurred in children younger than 15 years and 19 percent of all injuries involved the eyes.
Prevent injuries from fireworks
- The best way to protect your family is to let the professionals handle the show! Check out Richmond.com for a local July 4 fireworks schedule.
- Don’t allow children to play with fireworks.
- Even sparklers can be dangerous. Did you know sparklers burn at temperatures of 1000-2000°F?! That’s almost 10 times hotter than boiling water. Allow children to use glow sticks instead.
- If you choose to set off your own fireworks, EVERYONE present should wear eye protection. Think of your eye protection as a force field for your eyes!
- If you or your child sustains an eye injury, seek immediate medical assistance. Do not rub your eyes, rinse your eyes, or apply pressure to your eyes.
- Have a wonderful, fun and safe 4th of July!
- For more July 4 safety tips (fireworks, cookouts and campfires), visit our Burnin’ up post.
Fireworks: The blinding truth