Every year, more than 9,000 fireworks related injuries are reported with almost 45 percent of those injuries being inflicted upon children under the age of 15. One in six of fireworks-related eye injuries end up causing blindness or permanent vision loss. With these statistics in mind, the American Academy of Ophthalmology advocates that adults be vigilant when handling fireworks and even more cautious when children are using them. Unfortunately, many people see sparklers as being a "safe" form of fireworks and yet these supposedly innocent sparkles of fun cause the most injuries because of the 1200 degree heat they generate. Bottle rockets cause the most devastating eye injuries including rupture of the eyeball and retinal detachment. While the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional public fireworks display, if you still wish to purchase and use your own fireworks, there are guidelines you should follow:
- Always wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks and those around you should wear it as well.
- Never allow young children to play with fireworks - even sparklers.
- Remove all flammable materials from the area and view fireworks from at least 500 feet.
- Professional-grade fireworks should only be handled by a trained technician.