Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on consumer fireworks, which cause more than 9,000 injuries a year. With the Fourth of July holiday just a month away, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding the public that fireworks are not toys but incendiary devices that can cause devastating eye injuries. Below are five fireworks myths, debunked:
1. Sparklers are safe for young children. Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers were responsible for most of the injuries to children age 5 and younger.
2. It’s safer to view fireworks than it is to light or throw them. Bystanders are injured by fireworks as often as the operators. Stacy Young was 100 yards away when an illegal firework sent shrapnel into her skull. Ophthalmologists couldn’t save her eye. It had to be removed.
3. Consumer fireworks are safe. Sparklers and firecrackers each account for 1,400 injuries to the eyes.
4. It’s safe to pick up a firework after it has been lit. Even though it looks like a dud, it may not act like one. When Javonte McNair, 14, picked up a previously lit firework, it exploded, severing his hand and blasting hot debris into his eye, causing severe damage to his cornea.
5. It’s not the Fourth of July without consumer fireworks. The Fourth can be complete without using consumer fireworks. The Academy advises that the safest way to view fireworks is to watch a professional show.