IMPORTANT READ: Safety tips this Fourth of July holiday

It’s that time of year again. The Fourth of July holiday is almost here. The day where we celebrate America’s independence also means pool parties, cookouts, vacation time, and oh yes–millions of Americans setting off fireworks. While this day is usually full of fun times, it can actually be quite a dangerous holiday. Although, many Americans will choose to watch the professional firework shows in their hometowns, the danger comes from the smaller shows that people try to set off in their own backyard.
The Taustine Eye Center and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) are urging the public to take the necessary steps to prevent fireworks-related eye injuries. It is imperative to use extreme caution when setting off fireworks and especially important to monitor children around these explosive devices.
If you don’t believe us, check out these statistics from an AAO article. “Of the more than 9,000 fireworks injuries that occur in the United States each year, approximately 45 percent are sustained by children age 15 and under. Eyes are among the most injured body parts, and one in six fireworks-related eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness.” According to the latest U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission report on fireworks injuries, more than 11,000 injuries occurred in 2013, with 1 in 6 fireworks injuries damaging the eyes. Sparklers seem to be used the most by the average American, and most probably think they are the least dangerous of the fireworks. However, sparklers end up causing the most injuries because not only are they 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit but they are also handled most by children. 
Dr. Lloyd R. Taustine, M.D., the cataracts and LASIK specialist at the Taustine Eye Center, feels all parents should be aware of this: “Fireworks are inherently dangerous and are in fact high explosives that genereate a great deal of heat. They are not something for children to play with and should only be used by an adult with eye and burn protection.”
Dr. Philip R. Rizzuto, M.D., ophthalmologist and communications secretary for the Academy explains, “It’s crucial that the public understand the potentially devastating dangers that backyard fireworks shows can present.” Rizzuto says further, “The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges parents and responsible adults to be especially vigilant about these risks if children are in the presence of fireworks and follow appropriate safety tips to reduce the risk of eye injury.
If you decide to purchase and use legal consumer fireworks, AAO and the Taustine Eye Center recommend that you follow these safety tips to prevent eye injuries:
•Never handle fireworks without protective eyewear and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
•Never let young children play with fireworks of any type. If older children are permitted to handle fireworks, ensure they are closely supervised by an adult and wear protective eyewear.        
•Clear the area of flammable materials and view fireworks from at least 500 feet (1/4 mile) away. 
•Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.
For those who attend professional fireworks displays and/or live in communities surrounding the shows:
•Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows
•Do not touch unexploded display fireworks. Instead contact local fire or police departments immediately.  
•If a fireworks-related injury does occur, please call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention immediately. 
Remember, this is supposed to be a wonderful holiday to spend time with family and friends. Take these safetey tips into consideration, be extra careful, and have fun! Happy Fourth of July from the Taustine Eye Center!
Please feel free to give us a call at (502) 458-9004 if you have any questions. 

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