Every year, injuries from consumer fireworks send thousands to the emergency room. In fact, Injuries from fireworks accounted for 11,400 visits to emergency rooms in 2013, according to the latest data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). And, eight non-occupational fireworks-related deaths occurred in that same year as well.
According to the report, 16 percent, or 1,200, of fireworks-related injuries were to the eyes. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body, except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occurred more frequently.
Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, offers alternatives to celebrate the holiday safely:
- Paint flower pots with red, white and blue paint and glitter. Then plant a seed.
- Make pinwheels or wind socks with an Independence Day theme.
- After the sun goes down, wrap flashlights in colored cellophane to provide fun shades of light.
- Purchase non-toxic glow-sticks, ropes and jewelry that can safely light the night for kids.
- Create your own noisemakers by banging wooden spoons on pots and pans. Search your house for horns, whistles and bells and other items to create a marching band.
- Make your own firecracker sounds by popping bubble wrap.
- Using yarn, craft sticks, paint and construction paper, families can make the United States flag.
- Make 4th of July rockets by using paper towel rolls, paint, streamers and paper cement.
- Let kids create in the kitchen by making fun desserts using blueberries, strawberries and whipping cream for star-spangled treats.
- Have children design and decorate their own t-shirts and hats using glow in the dark paints. Add puffy paints and glitter to make them sparkle.
- Use hypoallergenic face paint or make-up to make designs on your child’s face. Adults should apply the face paint and remove it with cold cream or eye make-up remover instead of soap. Follow product guidelines about applying product directly around the eyes.
As a public health-based organization, Prevent Blindness continues to support the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except for authorized public displays by competent licensed operators. The group believes such bans are the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.
For more information on the dangers of fireworks, please call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020 or log on to preventblindness.org/prevent-eye-injuries-fireworks.