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Fireworks are fun, but also can cause injuries.  The Prevent Blindness America has designated the first of June until July 4 as the National Firework Safety Month. It is estimated that fireworks sent thousands of Americans to the emergency room during the 4th of July holiday. Injuries due to fireworks mostly are burn to all parts of the body except the eyes. The eyes sustains contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies rather than burns. About one third of these injures results in permanent blindness.

 

Every year, young children can be found along parade routes and at festivals with sparklers in hand, but they are a lot more dangerous than most people think. Parents don’t realize they burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and many children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.

 

Bottle rockets are small rockets attached to a stick, lit by a fuse and typically fired from a bottle. Teens have been known to have bottle rocket wars, firing them at one another and causing chest, head and eye injuries. The majority of these teens ended up with reduced vision, and probably half of those were deemed legally blind,” said Dr. Franco Recchia, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Vanderbilt.

 

Firecrackers are designed to explode on the ground. They are often linked together by one long fuse and explode in a series. They are designed to be very noisy, but they also can cause burns and other serious injuries.

 

Roman candles eject multiple exploding shells from a tube the user holds in his or her hand. There have been numerous reports of children losing fingers, severe burns and other injuries, which are sometimes caused when the device gets jammed.

 

You hear them go off every year: M-80s, M-100s, even M-250s. The unmistakable explosions associated with these devices can rattle the windows of homes for blocks. They are produced illegally and without quality control, have short fuses and cause hundreds of extremely severe injuries each year.

If fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow the following safety tips:

  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire

Better yet, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back and let the experts handle the show.

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