This year, Americans will spend an average of 1 billion dollars on fireworks. Last year, fireworks resulted in nearly 13,000 injuries in the United States. Most of these injuries are burns to the hands and fingers, but 14% are eye injuries.
Every holiday season, celebratory fireworks result in burns and eye trauma, causing temporary or permanent ocular damage, vision loss and blindness.
What makes this holiday tradition so dangerous?
For starters, even the fireworks legally available are never “safe”. Even when it comes to the seemingly innocent end of the spectrum, consumers should beware… Did you know sparklers burn at a temperature of about 2,000 degrees?! That’s toasty enough to bake a cake or boil water! So hot, that five states have considered them hazardous enough to ban sparklers completely.
The surest way to keep safe this firework season, is to enjoy a professional show rather than handling them at home. But if you are going to take part in the New Year’s light show, here are a few guidelines to be sure to follow:
—Of course, always follow state and local laws and DO NOT participate in illegal firework use
— When handling sparklers or fireworks, always keep a large bucket of ice water nearby, as well as a hose
— When handling sparklers, hold at arm’s length and stand at least six feet away from other people. After all, half of firework eye injuries occur to bystanders.
—Never relight a “dud” firework
— Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks