June is Fireworks Eye Safety Month

Last year, approximately 6,400 Americans spent part of their Fourth of July holiday in the emergency room, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  Despite warnings to consumers on the dangers of fireworks, the number of injuries every year has remained relatively steady. But, the long-term effects of these injuries can be severe. In fact, the American Society of Ocular Trauma states that an average of 400 Americans permanently lose vision in one or both eyes due to fireworks injuries annually.
Sadly, children ages 15 and younger make up a significant number of fireworks injuries, accounting for 36 percent.  For children under the age of 5, a third of the total injuries were from sparklers.  Many parents may not be aware that sparklers can burn up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
“There are no such things as safe fireworks,” said Dr. Lloyd Taustine of the Taustine Eye Center.  “Although there seems to be a prevailing attitude that because an accident hasn’t happened before that fireworks aren’t dangerous, the statistics prove the opposite to be true.”
Some suggestions for safe alternatives to fireworks:
During the day, let the kids decorate t-shirts or hats with paint and glow-in-the-dark decals.  Their creations will be ready by the time the sun goes down.
Create your own noisemakers by using bicycle horns, whistles, bells, cymbals or pots and pans.
Glo-sticks, glo-ropes and glo-jewelry can safely light the night for kids.
For more safety information, log on to www.nfpa.org/fireworks.

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