July 1, 2012

The Fourth of July should be about family and community, potato salad and burgers on the barbecue. It should not be the day the police confiscate your private stash of illegal fireworks (and slap you with a hefty fine). And it certainly should not be the day your child loses an eye in a fireworks accident. We hate to be so blunt, but the truth is that children and teens suffer serious injuries because of fireworks every year.

Nationwide, fireworks are involved in 9,000 injuries every year. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 21 percent of those are eye injuries, and the majority of victims are young kids or teenagers. Kids like things that explode, but the dangers are real — children have had to have cornea transplants after being hit by debris from a firework.

But even if they were legal — and they aren’t, without a license — we tend to forget that it isn’t always the kids that are handling the fireworks. When one man lit smoke bombs that created different colored smoke, his 4-year-old son couldn’t resist getting a closer look. The bomb’s wick had tar on it that flew into the boy’s eye.

Eye injuries aren’t easy to treat, and they can be quite painful, regardless of the victim’s age. One in six victims, both children and adults, will suffer permanent vision loss or blindness.

It’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals. If you are in a state that allows consumers to use fireworks, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Keep children away from all fireworks, even sparklers.
  • Everyone should be at least 50 feet away from fireworks displays.
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks. Contact the fire or police department immediately.

Remember, too, that the professionals will put on a much better show than you ever could. But, above all, use common sense to keep the holiday and everyone’s eyes safe.

Source: Algonquin Patch, “Children At High Risk For Fireworks Eye Injuries,” June 30, 2012


Categories: Blog