These days, anyone can set off fireworks to celebrate holidays like Victoria Day. Unfortunately, eye injuries have doubled over the past three years due to their unsafe use. Eye injuries accounted for 27% of all fireworks injuries treated in emergency rooms between 1998 and 2004 and 76% of all injuries were children under the age of 14. Half of all firework-related injuries occurred at home.
The number of people setting off fireworks at home keeps increasing and so does the potential for eye injuries. Here are some tips offered by The National Council on Fireworks Safety in the U.S. to help you avoid firework-related eye injuries this Victoria Day weekend.
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- A responsible adult should supervise the use of fireworks.
- Never give fireworks to children.
- Go to your neighbourhood park, away from buildings and vehicles, to shoot off fireworks, not in your backyard or on the sidewalk or street.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting off fireworks.
- Read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions of the fireworks before igniting.
- Don’t drink alcohol while lighting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and move away from it quickly.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose close by.
- Never relight a firework that didn’t go off. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in the bucket of water.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket.
- Don’t shoot fireworks into metal or glass containers.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from buildings and combustible materials.
Beware DIY Fireworks
Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks and never buy fireworks from someone’s house or from someone on your street. These devices are likely illegal explosives or professional 1.3G fireworks that can seriously hurt you.
More Points to Ponder
There’s no such thing as safe fireworks. Even sparklers burn at 1800 degrees F. and rockets can stray off course or throw shrapnel when they explode. Don’t set fireworks off in a confined area or where others are standing nearby.
First Aid for Firework-Related Eye Injuries
If you or someone else sustains an eye injury resulting from fireworks, seek medical attention immediately.
- Don’t rub your eyes
- Don’t rinse your eyes
- Don’t apply pressure
- Don’t try to remove any object stuck in the eye
- Don’t apply ointments or take blood-thinning pain medications like aspirin or ibuprofen
If you and your family want to enjoy fireworks this Victoria Day, go to your city’s fireworks display that’s run by professionals and watch from a safe distance. It’s infinitely safer and won’t cost you a thing.