Fireworks alert: Don’t be blinded by the dangers

“Don’t be blinded by the dangers of fireworks” is the message of the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness” (ISPB) this Fourth of July holiday. Attending a municipal display fireworks is the safest way to celebrate this Fourth of July. Please leave display fireworks to the professionals. In the hands of amateurs, fireworks can turn festivities into tragedy.

According to the 2003 ISPB Illinois Annual Fireworks Survey—compiled from data received from the Illinois hospital emergency rooms, opthalmologists and optometrists—70 percent of the eye-related injuries were children and young adults through the age of 20, which is an increase from the 50 percent that was conveyed in the 2002 survey. Sixty-two percent of those treated were male, and bottle rockets led the list for most eye-related injuries for the third year in a row.

It is important to note that except for novelty fireworks (i.e., sparklers, snakes, trick noisemakers, etc.), fireworks are illegal in Illinois without a permit. Illegal fireworks in the mainstream could present substantial risks of injury resulting in vision loss, blindness, amputations, burns and even death.

The ISPB continues to assist and support the Illinois public safety agencies, police and fire departments, schools, libraries and park districts in helping to educate more adults and children through videos, brochures, announcements and posters.

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