Did you know that June is Fireworks Eye Safety Month? The American Academy of Ophthalmology recognizes Fireworks Eye Safety Month due to the potential for injury to individuals and their eyes.
Fireworks, especially consumer fireworks, are dangerous and land thousands in the hospital every year. Most of these injuries occur in the summer, as June and July are prevalent for using fireworks.
A large percentage of injuries from fireworks are to the eyes, and these injuries can be devastating. Burns and lacerations from fireworks can completely rob you of your sight.
Knowing how to stay safe around fireworks is vital if you plan on using them yourself. If you use them yourself, you should know the proper way to use fireworks to reduce the chance of injury. Keep reading for 7 tips to follow during Fireworks Eye Safety Month!
1. Don’t Buy Illegal Fireworks
In some states, consumer fireworks are illegal. Buying fireworks in states where it’s illegal isn’t just a crime, but it can be dangerous.
Illegal fireworks are unregulated, meaning they haven’t been tested for safety and may be defective. Defective fireworks can be unpredictable and put you and anyone around them at a much higher risk of injury. Stick to legally purchased fireworks only to reduce the chances of severe trauma.
2. Never Let Young Children Use Fireworks
Even under strict adult supervision, young children should never be allowed to use fireworks or be left anywhere near them when in use. Using consumer fireworks, even non-explosive products like sparklers require fine motor skills and an understanding of the danger of mishandling them.
If your child is too young to understand these dangers and cannot reliably hold something hazardous on their own, they aren’t old enough for fireworks. If you wouldn’t trust your child with a kitchen knife, you certainly shouldn’t trust them with fireworks.
3. Supervise Older Children
If your child is of an age where they can understand the dangers of fireworks and have some motor skills, they still need constant supervision whenever handling fireworks. If they’re holding a sparkler, make sure you keep an eye on them.
Although sparklers seem less dangerous, there is still the potential for serious injury when using them. It’s also best to leave lighting more explosive fireworks to an adult, as even using a match or lighter can be tricky when flammable material is involved.
When supervising children with fireworks, actively watch them so you can intervene the moment any issues occur.
4. Use Safety Equipment
When using consumer fireworks, you should wear the same standard safety equipment when handling hazardous material in a laboratory or construction setting. For eye safety, this means safety goggles.
It may seem overly cautious, but on the off-hand chance that something goes wrong, it can save you or your child’s eyesight. Also, be sure to have a bucket of water on hand to put out any fires. Fireworks are highly flammable, and having water is the safest method to put them out if necessary.
5. Only Use Fireworks in a Safe, Open Environment
Never use consumer fireworks near any buildings or man-made structures. You should always use them in an open environment that’s clear of any flammable debris, like grass or dead leaves.
Make sure you’re using fireworks in an area large enough that you can give explosive fireworks an extensive berth when they’re set off. Standing too close to fireworks when they go off is a common way to get injured. Give yourself enough space so that you aren’t too close to fireworks as you’re setting them off.
6. Know How to Provide First Aid if Necessary
Always have a first aid kit handy and know how to provide first aid should anything go wrong. You should be extra aware of first aid for the eyes, as eye injuries are often mishandled.
If someone does get an eye injury, whether it’s a burn or something gets stuck in the eye, the best thing to do is not touch the eye for any reason. Seek immediate medical treatment.
If an object is lodged in the eye, never try to remove it. If what’s lodged in the eye is quite large, cover the eye with a plastic cup and some tape.
Covering the eye will prevent the eye from being moved as much as possible. It’s always preferable to avoid an eye injury whenever possible, but providing first aid and being prepared is best when you’re handling any dangerous material.
7. Stick to Professional Fireworks Shows
While there are ways to handle consumer fireworks with minimal risk, it’s hard to guarantee complete safety when using them. If you want to see fireworks, the best thing is to skip the consumer fireworks altogether and see a professional show.
Seeing a professional fireworks show is much safer, and it will allow you and your family to enjoy what you’re seeing instead of worrying about being protected. The good news is, during the summer, there’s never a shortage of local fireworks shows to choose from, especially the closer that you get to the 4th of July.
If you want to enjoy fireworks, the safest way to do so is always at a distance. When you see a show, make sure that you sit in a secure area from where the fireworks are set off.
Seeing a professional show makes this easy since safe areas are usually clearly marked with signage. If it feels like you’re too close, find a place that’s a little further away from the fireworks where you can still see what’s going on.
Stay safe this summer by remembering to see your eye doctor for an eye exam! Schedule an appointment at New England Eye Center in Boston, MA, today!