It’s that time of year again. Summer means the return of fireworks and unfortunately related eye and bodily injuries. Nothing can ruin a holiday like a visit to the ER! Annually, government leaders and healthcare practitioners alike warn consumers about the dangers of fireworks and emphasize the best and safest ways to enjoy them. Yet, their warnings fall on deaf ears at times and people end up in the emergency room unnecessarily.
This is why it seems like the appropriate time to mention that National Fireworks Safety Month continues through July 4th. Prevent Blindness America introduced this event to teach people that fireworks can hurt more than just hands.
The stakes are high, especially when people get lax and leave safety to chance. Many of the most common fireworks are handheld, which is especially dangerous. Fireworks can be as unpredictable as they are breathtaking.
Carelessness or over-confidence, however, can come at a real cost. It’s estimated that more than 1,300 eye injuries related to fireworks were treated in U.S. emergency rooms on an annual basis. It’s safe to say a good portion of these are preventable.
It starts with public education. In an effort to educate people and reduce the amount of injuries and deaths this time of year, we debunk three myths about the risk associated with consumer fireworks:
- Small doesn’t equal safe. Many people mistakenly believe sparklers are harmless because of their size. Don’t be fooled, as they can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees. Kids should always be supervised when holding sparklers.
- Appearances can be deceiving. Injury and serious eye trauma can occur when people mistakenly think that a firework is burned out. Never handle unexploded fireworks.
- There’s no “safe” spot. Just because you’re not handling fireworks doesn’t mean you’re out of the firing line. In fact, research shows that nearly half of the people injured by fireworks are bystanders.
While many associate the holiday with such a display, the 4th of July can be complete without using consumer fireworks. Many healthcare professionals are concerned because accidents can cause ocular injuries and even blindness. That’s why experts are calling for increased awareness of the potential dangers of fireworks and eliminating the use of consumer fireworks altogether.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association www.nfpa.org, the National Council on Fireworks Safety www.nsc.org, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) www.cpsc.gov.