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Eye Docs Debunk 5 Fireworks Myths

Make eye safety a priority this Fourth of July
(*this news item will not be available after 09/30/2017)
By Robert Preidt
Sunday, July 2, 2017

SUNDAY, July 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Firecrackers, sparklers and bottle rockets may seem harmless enough, but there's really no such thing as safe fireworks for consumers, eye doctors warn.

Each year, about 10,000 fireworks-related injuries are treated at U.S. emergency departments. Most of those cases involve children, including many who suffer eye injuries, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

Most of the injuries are caused by legal fireworks that parents buy for their children, such as sparklers, firecrackers and Roman candles, according to the AAO.

The group debunks five top fireworks myths.

  • Myth 1. Sparklers are safe for young children. False. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees -- that's hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers are responsible for most fireworks-related injuries among children age 5 and younger.
  • Myth 2. It's safe to watch nearby fireworks if you don't light or throw them. Actually, bystanders are injured by fireworks just as often as the operators.
  • Myth 3. Consumer fireworks are safe. Statistics show that sparklers and firecrackers each account for 1,400 injuries to the eyes every year in the United States.
  • Myth 4. It's safe to pick up a firework if it didn't go off after it was lit. The fact is, even though it looks like a dud, it may still explode.
  • Myth 5. It's just not the Fourth of July without setting off your own fireworks. The AAO suggests watching a professional show because it's a fun and safe way to view fireworks.

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release

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