To help prevent eye injuries during firework season, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends the following tips:
- Discuss firework safety with children and teens prior to the Fourth of July holiday.
- Do not allow kids to handle fireworks and never leave them unsupervised near fireworks.
- Wear protective eyewear when lighting and handling fireworks of any kind.
- Store fireworks, matches and lighters in a secure place where children won’t find them.
- Refrain from purchasing sparklers. Heating up to 2,000 degrees or hotter, sparklers are the number one cause of firework injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.
- Be aware of your surroundings and only light fireworks when family, friends and children are at a safe distance.
What to do for a fireworks eye injury (according to Prevent Blindess. www.preventblindness.org/prevent-eye-injuries-fireworks)
If an eye injury from fireworks does occur:
- 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.
Be safe and Happy Forth of Jul-EYE!