Health: Fireworks Alert—Don’t be blinded by the dangers of fireworks!

“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. Please leave display fireworks to the professionals. In the hands of amateurs, fireworks can turn a festivity into a tragedy.

According to the 2004 ISPB Illinois Annual Fireworks Survey—compiled from data received from the Illinois hospital emergency rooms, ophthalmologists and optometrists—14 percent of the eye-related and bodily injuries were children under the age of 11; 50 percent aged 11-20; 36 percent aged 21-50. The survey also showed that of those treated for fireworks injuries, 71 percent male and 29 percent were female. Bottle rockets and firecrackers led the list at 21 percent each, followed by sparklers, roman candles, fountains, lady fingers, jumping jack and professional displays.

It is important to note that except for novelty fireworks (i.e., sparklers, snakes, trick noisemakers), fireworks are illegal in Illinois without a permit. Illegal fireworks (i.e., cherry bombs and M80s) 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.

From the June 29-July 5, 2005 issue

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