Virginia Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons suggests that you attend a public fireworks display as a safe, patriotic way to honor tradition and family values, and to ensure the health and safety of your family.
- View public fireworks display from at least 500 feet.
- Respect the safety barriers the pyrotechnicians have set up.
- Let trained professionals light the fireworks.
- Follow the directions of local firemen and police at public displays.
- Do not touch unexploded fireworks; contact fireman or police immediately. Consumer fireworks, such as bottle rockets, as well as homemade fireworks, have been responsible for 25-30 percent of the fireworks-related injuries over the past ten years.
- Boys 13 and 15 sustain three-fourths of all fireworks-related eye injuries.
Consumer fireworks include cone fountains, bottle rockets, cylindrical fountains, Roman candles, skyrockets, firecrackers, mines, and shells, helicopter-type rockets, certain sparklers, and revolving wheels. Bottle rockets are the most dangerous. They fly erratically, and the bottles or cans used to launch the rockets often explode, showering fragments of glass or metal.
Sparklers burn as hot as 1800 degrees, hot enough to melt gold. For children under the age of five, sparklers account for three-quarters of all fireworks injuries. It is true that firework injuries in the United States have decreased during recent years. However, there are still 12,000 fireworks-related injuries each year, with 2,400 of those affecting the eyes.
- One-third of those injuries are caused each year by consumer fireworks.
- One-fourth of those result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
- One in 20 lose all useful vision or require removal of the eye.