It’s probably no surprise that almost two thirds of the fireworks injuries in the U.S. happen during the 4th of July celebration season. It’s 64% of the 9,600 emergency room visits, according to a fireworks study by the Consumer Products Safety Commission conducted during the two weeks before and after the 2011 holiday. And eye injuries? They were #2 among injuries treated, second only to hands and fingers.
Children are at particular risk when it comes to fireworks. Consider this:
- Children under 15 represent 26% of the injuries – far out of proportion to their percentage of the population.
- 36% of injuries occur to youth 20 and younger.
- Boys are at the greatest risk. 68% of the emergency room visits were made by boys.
The risks we often think of as small can be out of proportion for children.
- Simple sparklers burn at about 2000oF. That’s as hot as a blowtorch! No wonder sparklers accounted for 1,100 emergency room visits in the CPSC study – almost 9%.
- Another 1,100 injuries are the result of firecrackers and bottle rockets.
Spread the fireworks safety story
Prevent Blindness America’s recommendation for fireworks safety? Don’t buy them, don’t use them, and don’t store them. Take the family to a professional fireworks display instead. However, if an accident occurs, they offer these five sight-saving first aid tips to remember on the way to the emergency room. Consider developing a simple hand-out for your patients.
- Do not rub the eye. This can increase bleeding or worsen the injury.
- Do not rinse the eye. Like rubbing, it can cause increased damage.
- Protect the eye, but don’t apply pressure. A foam cup or the bottom of a juice carton, held or taped in place, can guard the eye from any kind of contact.
- Do not stop for medicine. Over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t much help – and it’s more important to get to the emergency quickly. Also, aspirin should never be given to children, and ibuprofen can act as a blood thinner, increasing the bleeding.
- Do not apply ointment. There are two reasons for this. It may not be sterile, and it could make the skin around the eye slippery, which hinders a doctor’s exam.
Reprinted with permission from the defogitworks blog .