It’s that time of the year again. With the Fourth of July just around the corner, it’s important to take precautions for your kids’ safety during this festive season. This month marks Firework Eye Safety Month and with Independence Day falling on a Sunday and observed on both Sunday and Monday this year, fireworks will be going off all weekend long. While firework displays are great family fun, they can be dangerous for our children and their eyesight. To save yourself a trip to the opticians for an eye exam, or worse, a trip to the hospital, we’ve got some pointers. Here are some tips on how you can prepare for the upcoming firework celebrations!
Stand far back
We know how curious little minds can be, but children should stand far back from firework displays for their own safety. A recent report found that 15% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries, and of overall firework injuries, a shocking 36% were children and young adults under 15. So, with this in mind, you want to make sure you and your family stay well back from any firework displays – 500 feet away is a minimum guideline. This will ensure that you and your children will not get caught in the crossfire if a firework malfunctions or shoots into the nearby crowd.
Wear eye protection
While firework displays are beautiful to look at, the intense light explosions can potentially harm the eyes. Wearing sunglasses or protective eyeglasses can help stop the UV rays from damaging your eyesight, while protective eyeglasses will prevent any sparks, ash, or objects from going into the eyes. The most common firework eye injuries are heat burns and blunt force trauma due to fireworks accidentally exploding towards people. Although protective eyeglasses will not do much to protect the rest of your body if an accident does occur, your eyes should be safe. We recommend taking your child to the hospital if there have been any injuries with fireworks.
Be cautious with sparklers
You should never give sparklers to young children and closely supervise older children if you decide they can have one. Sparklers burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and, if misused, can cause severe damage to the eyes. Unfortunately, most children do not understand the potential dangers of using sparklers and treat them as toys, yet these hand-held fireworks can cause chemical and thermal burns and even blindness. If you are worried about your child’s vision after they have handled a sparkler, take them to a professional eyecare provider for a complete exam.
When possible, go to professional displays
Fireworks are incredibly hazardous, and most injuries are done when inexperienced people handle them. If possible, only attend professional firework displays that are outdoors and away from houses, trees, and any flammable materials. Professional shows should also have proper safety procedures and adequate barriers, so you do not get too close to the fireworks.
Have a great time this Fourth of July and be safe!