From smoke bombs and sparklers to Roman candles and bottle rockets, you love celebrating the Fourth of July with a bang. Unfortunately, firework mishaps on the 4th run almost as rampant as sleeveless American flag t-shirts.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in the United States alone, there are over 12,000 firework-related injuries annually. Approximately 2,400 of those are eye injuries, some of which result in a complete loss of vision.
As much as you and the family may enjoy the thrill of watching the fuse run down on a strand of firecrackers, careless handling of explosives is simply not worth the risk of injury. Here are some simple precautions for you to use in educating your loved ones on fireworks safety:
- Always wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks.
- Never let a child under 12 years old play with or light fireworks of any type.
- Only use fireworks and sparklers outdoors.
- Always have a bucket of water or a hose handy.
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you are, don’t use them. If drought conditions mean a ban on fireworks, follow the law.
- Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
- View professional fireworks from a safe distance of at least 500 feet (or approximately a quarter mile) away.
- If you find unexploded firework remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police department.
- If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.
This Independence Day, leave lighting the night sky up to the professionals and focus on protecting your family’s health and safety. Enjoy the holiday!