According to the latest data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 7,000 Americans spent part of their Fourth of July holiday in the emergency room last year due to fireworks injuries. And, 19 percent of those 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 occurred more frequently. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately one-third of eye injuries from fireworks result in permanent blindness.
The CPSC also stated that children younger than 15 years of age accounted for approximately 35 percent of the estimated 2014 injuries. Also, children 5 to 9 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries.
Firecrackers and rockets are unpredictable. Some explode prematurely, and rockets can take different flight paths than expected. Sparklers can burn up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to data from the United States Eye Injury Registry, the largest proportion of injured persons from fireworks were bystanders, not the person actually igniting the firework.
Please download the tips on eye injury below as a flyer for your patients.
If an eye accident does occur, minimize the damage to the eye:
- 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.
- Do not apply ointment. Ointment, which may not be sterile, makes the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.