As the much anticipated Fourth of July festivities approach, we’d like to remind readers of some of the dangers associated with the holiday: Namely, the improper use of fireworks. As a recent study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission points out, 65 percent of all firework injuries last year occurred within 30 days of Independence Day — and more than half resulted from the unexpected ignition of these devices or from their unintended use. In total, four celebrants were killed and as many as 9,600 were injured by either professional-grade or homemade firework devices.
Injuries associated with fireworks are typically burns to the hands and head, including the eyes, face, and ears. And as ACSH advisor Dr. Emil Chynn, an eye surgeon, points out in a 2010 op-ed, firework-related injuries most frequently involve the eyes, which account for about 20 percent of such ER visits. Dr. Chynn further explains the dangers surrounding bottle rockets — a favorite of kids — as he discusses how such devices can result in disastrous consequences, including the loss of an eye.
Before purchasing fireworks, then, folks should make sure they’re legal to use in their area, and children should never be allowed to play with or ignite these devices. We hope it goes without saying that an adult should always be present to supervise any firework activities, and water or a hose should be readily available in case of a fire. For more firework safety tips, click here.
“Anyone who doesn’t have the expertise, including a license, should not be handling professional grade fireworks,” says ACSH staffer Jody Manley, whose family operated a fireworks business for decades. “People need to use common sense when handling fireworks of any type. If you follow simple safety instructions for the class C, or common, fireworks that are sold to the public, you can safely enjoy the time-honored July Fourth tradition.”
And to read Dr. Chynn’s piece on firework eye safety in full, please click here.