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Fourth of July Firework Safety Tips

Plan on using fireworks this Fourth of July? Be safe while doing it.

The Fourth of July is drawing near and barbecue preparations are underway.

Fireworks are a traditional part of Independence Day celebrations, but they can also be dangerous. Children and teens are too often hurt by fireworks. So, before the celebration begins, get your EyeSmart fireworks safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Of the 9,000 fireworks-related injuries each year, 21 percent are eye injuries and more than half of the victims are young children or teenagers.

For example:

  • A 6-year-old child’s eye was severely injured after he lit an M-80 firework that he found in his home. He called 911 (mp3 audio) and underwent an immediate cornea transplant and lens replacement, and required several additional eye surgeries.
  • A 12-year-old boy forgot to unwrap the fuse of a fountain firework, making the fuse too short. It exploded almost immediately and blew up in his face, seriously injuring his eye.
  • After a man lit smoke bombs that created colored smoke, his 4-year-old son leaned in to get a closer look. Tar from the smoke bomb wick shot into the boy’s eye, causing a corneal abrasion.

Even sparklers are dangerous. Sparklers typically burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and cause 27 percent of all fireworks injuries, including third-degree burns.

Bottle rockets cause some of the most serious eye injuries. Errant bottle rockets can injure bystanders and cause eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball and complete blindness. One in every six fireworks-related eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness.

To prevent eye injuries, follow these EyeSmart tips:

  • Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
  • View fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
  • Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
  • Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
  • If you find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.

If you experience an eye injury during a fireworks accident, seek immediate medical help. For more fireworks safety tips or to find an eye M.D. in your area, visit www.geteyesmart.org.

Nassau Taxpayer July 03, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Stay safe. Here's how even professionals can easily get it wrong: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/mt_prospect/chi-fire-chief-fireworks-20120703,0,2116678.story
Roland A. Ericsson July 04, 2012 at 12:19 PM
And all these years I have been thinking that the use of fire works by individuals was prohibited under New York State law.
Marilyn July 04, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I've been hearing fireworks for the past few days every night. It's probably at the park where the man died about 20 years ago. Why can't people understand that it is illegal & they get injured or worse!!!!
Gone July 05, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Marilyn, people do understand that it is illegal, but choose to do what they want. Just like talking/texting when driving and going through stop signs at 30 mph. People pick and choose the laws they will obey. The police do little to enforce the laws, so this is what you get. If the police really cared about the dangers of fire works, I think it would be pretty easy to find out who is shooting them off.

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