PBA: Use caution on the Fourth

June 20, 2012
Ophthalmology Times Staff Reports

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) is warning the public about the dangers of using fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.

Chicago-Prevent Blindness America (PBA) is warning the public about the dangers of using fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.

In 2010, an estimated 6,300 Americans spent part of their Fourth of July holiday in the emergency department because of fireworks-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Fireworks Annual Report. Of those emergency room visits, more than 1,300 were for eye injuries.

The CPSC report found that children less than 15 years of age accounted for about 40% of the estimated injuries. Children aged less than 5 years old experienced an estimated 700 injuries-43% of which were caused by sparklers. In fact, fireworks sometimes referred to as “safe and sane,” including sparklers, fountains, and other novelties, were responsible for two out of five injuries treated in emergency departments.

To help families enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July, PBA is making an effort to educate the public on the potential dangers of fireworks. The organization warns:

• Fireworks are extremely dangerous.

• Do not purchase, use, or store fireworks or sparklers of any type.

• Protect yourself, your family, and your friends by avoiding fireworks and sparklers.

• Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous.

PBA continues to support the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale, and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except for authorized public displays by competent licensed operators.

“The Fourth of July should be a time when we come together to honor our country by celebrating our great nation safely and responsibly,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and chief executive officer of PBA. “We hope all Americans have a wonderful holiday with their loved ones, not in the emergency room.”

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