According to the results of a survey done by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people in the U.S. are nearly three times as likely to wear protective eye wear when cleaning around than when using fireworks, and about five times as many people believe it is safer for children to use variations of fireworks than lighting birthday candles. The Academy believes these lenient attitudes towards fireworks safety are behind an increase in fireworks-related injuries in recent years.
The survey results indicated that a third of Americans know someone injured by fireworks or has been injured themselves. Sparklers burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, yet 54 percent of respondents said it is safe for children ages five to 10 to play with them. However, only 11 percent would let children light birthday candles, and only 4 percent would allow them to cook on a stove. Twenty percent of Americans plan on doing their own fireworks, with the South having the highest planned usage rate of any region at 27 percent and the Northeast being the lowest at 11 percent.
Since nearly 40 percent of fireworks injuries harm children under the age of 15, according to the 2014 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s fireworks injury report, the Academy created an animated 60-second video to educate children on fireworks safety. The video features college student Jameson Lamb, 19, who was blinded in his right eye by a roman candle at age 16 and is now offering advice on fireworks safety. For more information and to see the video, please visit www.geteyesmart.org/fireworks.
If an eye injury every does occur as the result of a fireworks accident, seek medical attention and follow the following guidelines:
• Avoid rubbing, rinsing or applying pressure to your eyes.
• Do not remove any objects that have become lodged in the eye.
• Do not take any blood thinning pain medications or apply any ointments.
The Academy urges people to attend professional fireworks displays rather than using their own at home, and never allowing children to use them or sparklers. If you do use fireworks at home, use protective eye wear and follow the local laws regarding fireworks.
(Read further to find out about where to Celebrate Independence Day On Long Island.)