Prevent Blindness Georgia Urges Public to Celebrate Independence Day Safely by Not Using Consumer Fireworks
- Non-profit Group Provides Ideas on Ways Families Can Celebrate without Risk of Injury -
ATLANTA (July 1, 2014)– Every year, injuries from consumer fireworks send thousands to the emergency room. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated in its annual report that there were an estimated 11,400 injuries treated in emergency rooms in the United States, with the majority of those around the Fourth of July holiday.
According to the report, children younger than 15 years of age accounted for approximately 40 percent of the estimated injuries. And of the total overall injuries, 16 percent, or 1,200, were to the eyes. Burns were the most common injury to all parts of the body, except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occurred more frequently.
Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH, president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance (CIPA), is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and an expert on the damage that consumer fireworks can have on the body. Not only has he authored several published studies on fireworks-related injuries, he has treated many of them as well.
One case in particular that left an impression on Dr. Smith was that of a 4-year-old girl who was standing next to her mother as another family member lit a bottle rocket in their backyard. The bottle rocket took an unexpected path and flew toward the girl. Because it happened so quickly, nobody had a chance to react before the rocket struck the girl in the eye. The damage was so severe that the girl sustained permanent vision loss in that eye.
“Unfortunately, this was just one of the many painful and serious injuries to children that I’ve seen related to fireworks over the years,” said Dr. Smith. “Our studies show that parental supervision is not enough to prevent consumer fireworks injuries to children – in fact, children who are simply bystanders and not even handling the fireworks are often injured. The words that I hear when parents bring their child crying in pain to the emergency department after a firework injury are always the same: ‘Doctor, I can’t believe that this happened to my child. I was standing right there, but it happened so fast that I could not do anything in time to stop it from happening’. These are good parents who simply believed the myth that these products could be used safely. Do not make that mistake with your family.”
Prevent Blindness Georgia offers alternatives to celebrate the holiday safely:
As a public health-based organization, Prevent Blindness Georgia 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 group believes such bans are the only effective means of eliminating the social and economic impact of fireworks-related trauma and damage.
For more information on the dangers of fireworks, please call Prevent Blindness at (404) 266-2020, visit www.pbga.org or log on to preventblindness.org/prevent-eye-injuries-fireworks.
About Prevent Blindness Georgia
Prevent Blindness Georgia was founded in 1965 as the state affiliate of Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization since 1908. Its mission is to prevent blindness and preserve sight for the residents of Georgia which is accomplished through vision screenings for children and adults, eye exams and glasses for indigent seniors and homeless and working poor adults, public education on eye health and safety to persons at risk for eye disease, and vision screening training. To donate to our good work, visit www.pbga.org.