One-Third Say They’ve Been Injured, Know Someone Injured by Fireworks
Survey says three times more people wear eye protection when cleaning, doing repairs than when using fireworks
One-third of people in the United States know someone who has been injured by fireworks or has been injured by fireworks themselves, according to a poll commissioned by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The Academy’s 2015 national fireworks survey also found that nearly three times as many U.S. adults say they wear eye protection for home repair projects or cleaning than for using fireworks. And while only 11 percent of Americans would let kids age 5 to 10 light birthday candles, more than half said children should be allowed to use sparklers and other fireworks, which can cause severe injury and eye damage.
“These results seem to suggest that people view tub scrubbing and candles as more of a threat to their eyes than fireworks,” said Philip Rizzuto, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “It’s very concerning to me as an ophthalmologist because I’ve seen how devastating consumer fireworks can be to someone’s vision. I sincerely hope this survey puts the risk of fireworks injuries in a new perspective and encourages more people to take precautions.”
Approximately 10,500 fireworks-related injuries required treatment in an emergency room in 2014, according to the 2015 fireworks injury report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (PDF). While that number is lower than last year, the percentage of people who suffered eye injuries from fireworks increased: 1 in 4 of those fireworks injuries damaged the eyes, versus 1 in 6 the prior year. Children age 15 and under made up 35 percent those harmed. Some of the more severe fireworks eye injuries that can occur include chemical and thermal burns, rupture of the eyeball and corneal abrasions.
2015 Fireworks Survey Results
To better understand how people view fireworks and fireworks safety practices, the Academy commissioned a nationally representative survey of more than 2,000 adults online. Among the findings:
- Many report injury by fireworks, plan to use fireworks: One-third said they know someone who has been injured by fireworks or has been injured themselves. Despite the known dangers, 1 in 5 said they plan to use fireworks themselves this Fourth of July.
- More say it’s OK for kids to play with sparklers/fireworks than candles, stove: Only 11 percent said it’s OK for a child of that age range to light birthday candles and 4 percent think it’s OK for them to cook on a stove unsupervised. By comparison, more than half, or 54 percent, say that children ages of 5 to 10 should be allowed to handle sparklers and other fireworks.
- Sparklers for kids: Nearly 40 percent of parents said children age 5 to 7 should be allowed to play with sparklers. However, sparklers can burn at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and caused 2,300 injuries in 2013, the most out of any type of firework and more than bottle rockets and fire crackers combined, according to the safety commission.
- Few protect their eyes from fireworks; more do for home repair, cleaning: Only 10 percent of people said they wear protective eyewear when using fireworks. In comparison, nearly 26 percent reported wearing protective eyewear when doing home repair like plumbing or carpentry, and almost 28 percent use eye protection when cleaning their homes.
Fireworks safety tips
For a safe and fun Fourth of July celebration, the Academy recommends attending a professional display rather than using fireworks at home. The Academy also advises that young children should not handle fireworks, including sparklers. Those choosing to play with fireworks at home should follow the applicable laws and always wear protective eyewear, even if watching as a spectator since many of those injured are bystanders.