According to the United States Eye Injury Registry, of the approximately 11,000 Americans treated in emergency departments annually for firework-related injuries approximately 2,000 of those injuries involve the eye. Almost half of those injured are simply bystanders.
About two-thirds of fireworks-related eye injuries result from bottle rocket use. These small devices consist of a firework attached to the end of a thin stick approximately one foot long. Participants insert the rocket into a bottle acting as a base and then light the fuse. After ignition, the bottle rocket launches from the bottle into the air with little or no control from the participant. To keep holidays from turning into tragedies, it's best to leave fireworks to the professionals, who take extensive safety precautions when producing the spectacular displays
Important Fireworks Safety Facts:
- Attend only professional fireworks displays. Don’t let your children play with fireworks of any kind.
- All fireworks are dangerous. Firecrackers, bottle rockets, sparklers and Roman candles account for most firework injuries.
- 10% of children injured by fireworks suffer permanent damage, such as the loss of an eye, a finger or a hand.
- Sparklers burn as hot as 2,000 degrees, hot enough to melt gold. For children under the age of five, sparklers account for three-quarters of all fireworks injuries.
- Legal fireworks carry the name of the manufacturer, the words “Class C Common Fireworks,” and a warning label. If these are missing, you should consider them illegal and extremely unsafe.
- If you find unexploded fireworks, don’t touch them. Contact your local fire or police department immediately.
The Federal Government reports that between 2000 and 2005 there were 36 fireworks-related deaths and more than a third of these incidents involved professional devices, which were sold illegally to consumers. Commercial fireworks are much more powerful and often ignite faster than you can imagine. They should only be used by licensed professionals.
For more information see the 2005 Fireworks Annual Report at: http://www.cpsc.gov/library/2005fwreport.pdf