There are many exciting ways to welcome in summer, but perhaps none more memorable than a vibrant fireworks show. When handled safely, fireworks can make an ordinary evening into something extraordinary that all will enjoy. In addition to being Cataract Awareness Month, June is also Fireworks Eye Safety Month to remind you and your loved ones that fireworks — while beautiful — are explosive devices that require thoughtful precautions.
Fireworks Eye Safety Precautions and Tips
To protect your eyes this summer, here are some precautions that you should carefully follow.
Keep a Safe Distance
About 65% of people who sustain fireworks injuries are bystanders. If you are not the one lighting the fireworks, you should be about 150 feet away for aerial fireworks and at least 35 feet away for ground-based fireworks, according to the Department of Homeland Security. This distance will give you the perfect view of the show while ensuring you are completely clear of any debris and mishaps that could occur during and after the lighting process.
Plan for the Unlikely
Sometimes, despite taking a multitude of precautions, lighting a firework doesn’t go as planned. To prevent sparks from starting a fire, you should have a bucket of water nearby, and a hose if you can. Before discarding any firework, whether it has been used or not, you should soak it in water for a few hours.
If a firework you tried to light did not go off, do not approach it. You should wait at least 10 minutes before picking them up and putting them into a bucket of water. Never try to light a failed firework again, and don’t abandon them either as they can still pose a risk. Soaking them in water permanently disarms them.
Consider Kids and Pets
While children are often enthralled by fireworks, pets tend to have the opposite reaction. In either case, you need to consider their comfort and safety. Pets can be scared by fireworks and go missing, so ensure their fences are secure and that their collars have tags with updated information just in case they get out. Preferably, keep them inside while fireworks are being used with a fan or other source of white noise to calm them down.
For kids, of course, they want to join in on the fun of fireworks, but be mindful. They should never be allowed to light or hold fireworks. Adults should use this time of year to set a good example and educate them on fireworks safety. If the kids want to play with sparklers, remember that they burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt many metals, so kids should always be supervised.
What to Do for a Fireworks Eye Injury
If you or someone you’re with sustains an eye injury related to fireworks use, following your instincts may land you in more trouble. Many people inherently reach for their eyes when they’re hurting, but you should avoid contact completely after an injury. Instead, seek medical attention right away and try to remain calm.
- Avoid rubbing either eye
- Avoid applying pressure
- Not remove any objects or debris
- Not rinse the eye
- Not apply any ointments
- Not take any blood-thinning pain relievers
By following these tips, you can help keep yourself and all those around you protected.