Prevent Fireworks Eye Injuries

Happy Fourth of July! This year we’d like to help keep you and your loved ones safe from serious personal injuries, including eye injuries. Here are some things to keep in mind so you can stay safe and still have a blast. 

Fireworks are explosives, and we need to handle all explosives with care

Fireworks might seem like harmless lights and sounds to anyone who hasn’t been injured by them. What we need to remember is that everything from Roman candles to mortars are explosives. They fling tiny pieces of shrapnel in every direction at high speeds when they go off, so it’s critical to remain a safe distance away.

Sparkers may seem small, but they can fire up the night

Sparklers burn hotter than 1200°F, so even these are far from safe to have near children’s eyes. To minimize the risk of injury from sparklers, make sure any children under the age of 12 are under close supervision, don’t run with them, always hold them at arm’s length, and never use more than one at a time. Protective eyewear wouldn’t hurt either.

Even if you’re not the operator, remain alert

Thousands of Americans are injured by fireworks every year. Four years ago, 1,300 people went to emergency rooms specifically for eye injuries alone. The worst part is that the majority of these injuries were sustained by innocent bystanders, not careless firework operators. Just one spark or piece of shrapnel is capable of causing permanent blindness.

Planning a show? Think safety first

Be sure to read all the labels on your fireworks and carefully follow any safety instructions. Wear protective goggles at all times. Once shrapnel starts flying, goggles can be the difference between permanent blindness and walking away with no injury. Closely supervise all young children around fireworks. Ideally, you should keep children under age 12 away from all fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers.

If you experience an eye injury, don’t wait to act

Even when we follow all the rules, accidents can happen. If you, or someone you know, does sustain an eye injury, don’t rub, rinse out, apply pressure or any ointment to the injured eye, because this could cause more damage. Instead, go straight to the emergency room. The sooner the eye gets treatment, the better the chances are for recovery. i-Chek can help you if you think some small debris may have accidentally landed in your eye, but for serious fireworks eye injuries, you should visit the emergency room.