Fireworks and Eye Safety Awareness
It is July 2023, and this month is Fireworks Awareness Safety Month. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that in 2022 that there were 11 non-occupational, fireworks-related deaths in 2022. Five of the deaths were due to firework misuse, three deaths were associated with a device misfire/malfunction, a device tip-over caused one death, and two incidents were due to unknown circumstances. There were approximately 10,200 injuries due to fireworks injuries in 2022.
CPSC reported that in 2022 approximately 14% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries. The most cases fireworks can rupture the eye globe resulting in chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasion, and retinal detachment, which can lead to permanent eye damage ad vision loss. It is important to note that 65% of fireworks injuries were to bystanders. Children and others not holding fireworks are in as much danger as the people lighting the fireworks. Sparklers may seem harmless. However, they are dangerous and burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and were responsible for 1,495 of injuries in 2022.
The Fourth of July Holiday is here, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants the public to know that fireworks are not toys, they are flammable gadgets that can cause devastating eye injuries. In the U.S., Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars yearly on consumer fireworks. In 2020 there were approximately 15,600 injuries resulting in a trip to hospital emergency rooms. Insights from a 2017 study suggest that there were approximately 13,000 fireworks injuries and 8 deaths, and a simple fireworks gadget like sparklers was responsible for 1,200 injuries. Injuries and death from 2017 to 2020 increased by 20% and 125% respectively.
Common Types of Fireworks
- Roman candles.
- Bottle rockets.
- Fire flowers.
Burn Injuries And Fireworks
The National Safety Council suggests that consumers avoid fireworks and attend public displays where fireworks professionals are managing the fireworks. Fireworks that cause the most injuries are firecrackers, sparklers, and bottle rockets. Approximately 50% of the injuries involve burns. The most common injury from fireworks is a finger or hand with a burn. A minor burn causes redness and pain, and blisters result from serious burns. White leathery skin and damage under the skin are the results of serious burns. Burn injuries can affect muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels, and damage the respiratory system. Therefore, causing possible airway obstruction, respiratory failure, and respiratory arrest.
Fireworks Smoke And Their Particles.
Fireworks smoke consists of two types of particulate matter; course particulates (PM10) and fine particulates (PM2.5). it is important to note that short-term exposure to fine particle pollution can pose health concerns for those with respiratory conditions. Especially for children, and older adults. PM and gases emitted from fireworks also trigger cardiovascular diseases, reduce lung function and facilitate the worsening of respiratory illnesses, including asthma.
Rules To Follow (Holidaysmart.com And NSC):
- Obey the laws of your state.
- Do not handle fireworks under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- You should not ignite fireworks indoors or an inside a container
- Remain a significant distance away from the fireworks.
- Children should not handle fireworks, including sparkles (they burn at 2,000 degrees).
- Adults should always supervise minors.
- Relighting Don’t try to re-light malfunctioning fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of having to extinguish the fire or malfunctioning fireworks.
- Throwing fireworks at someone is not safe.
- Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
- Always use them away from people, houses, and flammable material
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Re-lighting or handling malfunctioning fireworks is unsafe.
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
- Never use illegal fireworks
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following if you experience an eye injury due to Fireworks
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Do not rub your eyes
- Avoid rinsing your eyes.
- No pressure
- Leave any objects that are stuck in the eye.
- Applying ointments or taking any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen is a no unless directed by a doctor.
During these times when you are enjoying fireworks remember that a safe distance from fireworks is anywhere between 35–150 feet. Studies show that on Independence Day fireworks introduce 42% more pollutants into the air than that found on a typical day.
Celebrate the Fourth of July, have fun, and be safe. Contact us if you have questions about Fireworks Safety and see us immediately if you experience any eye injuries due to fireworks.