Fireworks are big business in the United States. The American Pyrotechnics Association estimated consumers spent $755 million on fireworks in 2015, and according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2014.
Nearly 400 people lose sight in one or both eyes due to fireworks injuries every year.
If you’re intent on using fireworks, follow these safety tips provided by ophthalmologists at University of Alabama at Birmingham Callahan Eye Hospital to avoid injury, burns or blindness:
• Always use adult supervision. Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never use bottle rockets.
• Read and follow all manufacturers’ warnings and instructions.
• Keep a source of water close by in case of fire or another mishap.
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before using them.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never throw fireworks at another person.
• Shoot fireworks on a clean, flat surface away from the house or flammable materials.
What to do for a fireworks eye injury
If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, remember:
• Seek medical attention immediately.
• Do not rub your eyes.
• Do not rinse your eyes.
• Do not apply pressure.
• Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
• Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham