Fireworks can cause eye injuries, burns

HOUSTON - Playing with fireworks should not be taken lightly this Independence Day holiday.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year 65 percent of all fireworks injuries happened within 30 days of the Independence Day holiday.  More than 9,600 people were hurt. Four were killed.

Emergency room Dr. Thomas Allen says the Fourth of July holiday is unfortunately a busy time when it comes to fireworks injuries.

"It's usually due to people just basically not following instructions so I'd like to write everybody out there a prescription for common sense," said Dr. Allen.

"Most of the accidents we see are from people being careless. They're either playing around too close to them, not standing far enough away and I see a lot of hand injuries, hand burns," he added.

According to the Texas Ophthalmological Association, children between the ages of 5 and 14 are at greatest risk for injuries.  About 21 percent of those injuries are to the eyes.

YouTube Fireworks Eye Injury Video

"If you get a bad eye injury, I mean, you've pretty much lost sight in that eye forever, so you've got to be careful," said Dr. Allen.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these tips.

  • Only use fireworks outdoors
  • Do not try to alter or combine fireworks.
  • Always have water handy, such as a hose or bucket.
  • Never re-light a dud firework. Wait 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water

If you think sparklers are safe, think again.  They can burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and cause nearly a third of all fireworks injuries, including third-degree burns.

Dr. Allen advises parents to watch their children very closely, and he recommends you keep fireworks away from those younger than teens.

For more information on fireworks safety, visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety's website,

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