Fireworks rupture the eyeball, burn the eye and face, cut eyelids, and cause corneal abrasions in approximately two thousand people every year in the US. One quarter of these eye injuries result in permanent loss of vision or blindness.
The single most dangerous type of firework is the small, explosive bottle rocket. Their erratic flight causes injuries to users and bystanders alike. Sparklers, often given to young children, burn at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly hot enough to melt gold.
To avoid the dangers of fireworks, attend public firework displays instead of using fireworks at home. Amateur backyard displays are dangerous to the person lighting the fireworks and to nearby family members, friends, and neighbors. Celebrate safely by letting the professionals put on the show.
At a public fireworks display, follow these safety tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals—not only is it safer, it is also cheaper and more spectacular.
- Respect safety barriers set up to allow the pyrotechnicians (or firework professionals) to do their jobs safely.
- For the best and safest view, stand at least 500 feet, or up to a quarter of a mile, away.
- Follow directives given by event ushers and public safety personnel such as police and fire fighters.
- If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact local fire or police departments.
- Most importantly, never let your child play with fireworks. Ever.
If a fireworks injury to the eye does occur, do not touch the eye. Get medical attention immediately.