Because of injuries due to fireworks, approximately 5,000 Americans were sent to the emergency room during the Fourth of July holiday in 2008, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). About 1,000 of those injuries were to the eyes, including contusions, lacerations, debris in the eyes and burns.
Unfortunately, children under the age of 15 accounted for 40 percent of the total injuries. Parents need to understand that even fireworks that are approved for consumer use are still dangerous. In fact, nine out of ten fireworks injuries that required emergency medical attention were approved by Federal regulations. And, fireworks injure bystanders more often than they injure the people who set off the fireworks.
"We cannot stress enough how dangerous fireworks can be," said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO. "We urge families to celebrate Independence Day safely this year by only attending fireworks displays conducted by licensed professionals."
After the display, parents should never allow children to pick up fireworks that may be leftover as they may still be active. As part of its new children's eye health program, Star Pupils, Prevent Blindness America offers the Safe Summer Celebrations guide free to parents that offers tips on how to keep the Fourth of July fun, festive and safe.
Some suggestions for safe summer fun:
- After the sun goes down, wrap flashlights in colored cellophane to provide fun shades of light.
- Purchase non-toxic glo-sticks, glo-ropes and glo-jewelry that can safely light the night for kids.
- Create your own noisemakers by banging wooden spoons on pots and pans. Search your house for horns, whistles and bells and other items to create a marching band.
- Make your own firecracker sounds by popping bubble wrap.
Using yarn, craft sticks, paint and construction paper, families can make the United States flag.
- Make 4th of July rockets by using paper towel rolls, paint, streamers and paper cement.
- Let kids create in the kitchen by making fun desserts using blueberries, strawberries and whipping cream for star-spangled treats.
- Have children design and decorate their own t-shirts and hats using glow in the dark paints. Add puffy paints and glitter to make them sparkle.
Use hypoallergenic face paint or make-up to make designs on your child's face. Adults should apply the face paint and remove it with cold cream or eye make-up remover instead of soap. Follow product guidelines about applying product directly around the eyes.