Fireworks: An Overlooked Danger

Everyone loves to "ooh" and "ah" over the spectacle of Fourth of July fireworks. But families who use fireworks at home are risking the eyesight they need to view those pyrotechnics. Despite years of public warnings, families don't seem to be getting the message: injuries were up by 300 cases between 2003 and 2004, the most recent figures available. About 1,400 of those injuries were to the eyes, according to Prevent Blindness America.

The best safety measure? Don't buy or use fireworks. Even sparklers, which many people believe to be harmless, are a leading cause of injuries each year. Instead, leave it to the pros and attend public displays in your community.

If your child's eyes are injured by fireworks, do not rub the eye, attempt to rinse it out, apply pressure, or use ointment - this could cause further damage. Instead, tape a paper or Styrofoam cup over the eye and seek immediate medical attention.

- Christina Elston

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