To commemorate the Fourth of July, families, friends, and neighbors will come together to celebrate over patriotic displays of fireworks. While many know the potential dangers of fireworks, it's easy to overlook safety measures when you're busy having fun.
In 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a study of fireworks injuries and found that an average of 5,200 people end up in the emergency room around the Fourth of July holiday due to fireworks-related injuries, and of those injuries, twelve percent were to the eyes. Those injured are not necessarily handling the explosives themselves. In fact, nearly half of people injured by fireworks are bystanders, according to the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Michigan Optometric Association (MOA) advise individuals to enjoy fireworks that are handled by professionals, from a safe distance. But if you decide to launch fireworks yourself, or with family or friends, the AOA and MOA recommend these tips to celebrate safely and protect your eyes:
• Discuss fireworks safety with children and teens.
• Do not allow kids to handle fireworks and never leave them unsupervised near fireworks.
• Wear protective eyewear when lighting and handling fireworks of any kind.
• Store fireworks, matches, and lighters in a secure place, where children won't find them.
• Stay away from sparklers. Heating up to 2,000 degrees or hotter, sparklers are one of the top causes of trips to the emergency room.
• Be aware of your surroundings and only light fireworks when family, friends, and children are at a safe distance.