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Fireworks not as safe as suspected

by jmaloni


Mon, Jun 22nd 2015 11:40 am

What's more dangerous: cleaning the toilet, lighting candles or watching firecrackers explode?

You might say No. 1 and No. 2. But looking at the results of a new fireworks safety poll released Monday by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly three times as many people said they wear eye protection for cleaning (28 percent) than when using fireworks (10 percent). 

When it comes to kids, five times as many said it's OK for children to use sparklers and other fireworks compared to lighting birthday candles.

The attitude on fireworks safety is in contrast to the increase in fireworks injuries reported in recent years. In the 2015 Fireworks Safety Survey results, a third of Americans said they were injured or know someone injured by fireworks.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll, also revealed these findings:

Eye protection use more common for home repair than fireworks: Among adults, 26 percent report wearing protective eyewear when doing home repair such as plumbing or carpentry, and 28 percent wear eye protection for cleaning with chemicals. But only 10 percent of adults said they wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks, even though such gear could help them avoid serious eye injuries.

More people say it's OK for kids to handle fireworks and sparklers than birthday candles: 54 percent say it's OK for children ages 5 to 10 to play with sparklers and other fireworks, but only 11 percent would allow a child of that age range to light birthday candles. Only 4 percent would allow children to cook on a stove. Sparklers burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, almost 10 times hotter than boiling water.

The South ranks first for planned fireworks use: More people in the South plan to use consumer fireworks than any other region (27 percent). The figure is lowest in the Northeast at 11 percent. Overall, 20 percent of Americans plan to use their own fireworks.

Fireworks Safety

Nearly 40 percent of fireworks injuries affect children ages 15 and under, according to a 2014 fireworks injury report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. To help families educate their kids about fireworks safety, the academy has created a fun, child-friendly animated 60-second video public service announcement featuring Suzy the Sparkler, Freddie the Firecracker and their friends.

The academy's audio public service announcement, "It's not worth the risk," features Jameson Lamb, 19. The Chicago college student explains how he was blinded in his right eye by a roman candle at age 16 and is now offering advice to others about fireworks safety. (30-second PSA)

Find more fireworks eye safety information from the American Academy of Ophthalmology online at www.geteyesmart.org/fireworks.  

What to do in case of fireworks eye injury: If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, seek medical attention immediately and follow these guidelines:

  • Do not rub, rinse or apply pressure to your eyes.
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
  • Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

•To stay safe this Fourth of July, the academy recommends the following:

  • Attend a professional fireworks display rather than using fireworks at home.
  • Young children should never handle fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Those choosing to use fireworks at home should always wear protective eyewear, even if watching as a spectator, because many of those injured are bystanders.
  • Follow the fireworks laws for your region.  

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