Most people have fond memories of seeing fireworks as a child. In their enthusiasm, parents may try to recreate the magic for their own kids. But the darker side of fireworks is the safety hazard they pose, especially to the eyes.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were 9,100 fireworks-related injuries treated in the ER and of that, 19% were eye injuries.1 Eyes can sustain permanent injury from fireworks and children are most often burned by fireworks.
The board-certified ophthalmologists at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates of Denver, CO, joins with the American Academy of Ophthalmology in calling for extra safety measures and even skipping home displays of fireworks and firecrackers. If you do intend to have a home display, here are some tips to consider.
The best way to prevent eye injuries due to fireworks is to avoid purchasing them. Substituting glow sticks, glow bracelets, and child-friendly things like snap-its and grow worms are all much safer than fireworks and firecrackers. Go as a family to the community fireworks display to enjoy a safe alternative to home fireworks.
If you do have home fireworks, make sure the safety rules are in place and kids know how far to stay back as parents handle the fireworks. Shrapnel from fireworks can fly over 100 yards, so keep that in mind when you set up your display area.
Make sure the fireworks are pointed away from people. Don’t let the child light or throw fireworks. Keep fireworks and matches or lighters away from children.
Parents should wear safety glasses when handling fireworks. These are readily available at hardware and home repair stores.
Keep a bucket of water handy. Duds need to be doused before handling since they can still explode if picked up.
Avoid using metal or glass containers to launch fireworks. These containers can explode and send more dangerous shards out.
Sparklers burn at extremely high temperatures – 2,000˚.2 Children can be easily burned by these. Glow sticks are a safer alternative.
In the event of an eye injury due to fireworks, stay calm. Be sure the patient does not rub his or her eyes. Do not rinse the eyes with any liquid. If bleeding, do not apply pressure. Do not attempt to remove any objects from the eye. If impaled, leave the object in the eye and seek medical attention at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates or the nearest emergency room immediately. Do not apply any ointments or fluids to the eye. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen since it can thin the blood and increase bleeding. Hold or tape the bottom of a cup or juice box over the eye as you seek medical help.2
Emergency eye appointments
In case of accident, our two Colorado locations in Denver or Lakewood are open for immediate help. If you or someone you love has sustained an eye injury, call or come in right away. We’re here for you, right when you need us.