If the worst happened – say an exploding bottle rocket or some other fireworks-related projectile hits your child’s eye – are you ready to act in a way that best ensures the preservation of his or her vision?
I posted on this topic last year at this time, but the danger that fireworks and firecrackers pose to eyes (especially young ones) is one we cannot afford to ignore.
Unless you are a trained physician, chances are that in the chaotic aftermath of an injury, your instincts could lead you in the wrong direction, one that could have irreparable consequences. But, as the saying goes, information is power. So, I suggest you arm yourself with some useful information before you are faced with the situation I describe above.
Here’s a great resource that can help you do that: a downloadable quiz put together by Prevent Blindness America that I encourage you not only to take, but also to share with your family and friends. It’s a quick and easy way to ascertain if your first-aid instincts are correct when it comes to these types of injuries and help ensure that you make the right decisions.
Along with the quiz, Prevent Blindness America also shares some rather alarming statistics related to fireworks injuries, which I reprint below. They should be enough to make you think more than twice about allowing your children to watch fireworks that aren’t conducted by professionals, or play with firecrackers themselves.
- According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2007, an estimated 6,300 injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July.
- Eyes were the second most commonly injured part of the body. An estimated 1,400 fireworks-related eye injuries were treated in 2007.
- Bystanders often suffer. Data from the U.S. Eye Injury Registry shows that fireworks more often injure bystanders than professional operators.
- Sparklers burn at up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and are a leading cause of fireworks-related injuries, especially in young children.
- Bottle rockets are unpredictable. Their flight path is erratic, their fuses are non-standard and their explosive power is enough to turn the “launch site” bottle or can into shrapnel.
- Fireworks can explode in the hand, throw sparks into the face, cast hot fragments onto limbs and ignite clothing. Sparklers waved around or tossed in the air are a danger to children and bystanders.
The good news is that it only takes some common sense (along with parental supervision) to ensure you and your family have what I sincerely hope will be a safe and happy Fourth of July!