Prevent Blindness warns that there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks. The safest way to enjoy the splendor and excitement of fireworks is at a professional display​.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in thousands of injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms each year.

Most fireworks injuries occur during the one month period surrounding the Fourth of July. Most fireworks injuries occur during the one month period surrounding the Fourth of July.

  • Fireworks devices were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2016 (the latest year for which data is available).
  • An estimated 7,600 fireworks-related injuries (or 68 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2016) were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments surrounding the 4th of July period.
  • Males accounted for 61% of fireworks injuries.
  • 31% of fireworks injuries were to children under age 15.
  • Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries. Children younger than 5 years of age had the second highest estimated rate.
  • The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 33 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 20 percent); legs (an estimated 18 percent); eyes (an estimated 9 percent); and arms (an estimated 8 percent).
  • Sixty-nine percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns. 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
  • There were 4 reported fireworks-related deaths in 2016.

Do Not Let Children Play With Fireworks

Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July, but there are precautions parents can take to prevent these injuries. The best defense against kids suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let kids play with any fireworks.

Do Not Purchase, Use, or Store Fireworks of Any Type

Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks. Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous.

These Six Steps Can Help Save Your Child's Sight

If an accident does occur, minimize the damage to the eye. In the event of an eye emergency:

  • Do not rub the eye. Rubbing the eye may increase bleeding or make the injury worse.
  • Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing.
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye itself. Holding or taping a foam cup or the bottom of a juice carton to the eye are just two tips. Protecting the eye from further contact with any item, including the child's hand, is the goal.
  • Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin (should never be given to children) and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the child to the emergency room at once - this is more important than stopping for a pain reliever.
  • Do not apply ointment. Ointment, which may not be sterile, makes the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.
  • Do not let your child play with fireworks, even if his/her friends are setting them off. Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees Farenheit, and bottle rockets can stray off course or throw shrapnel when they explode.
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Our Position

Prevent Blindness supports the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks, except those used in authorized public displays by licensed operators, as the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.

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