As the Fourth of July approaches, the pop and bang sounds of fireworks will fill our communities, bringing delight to those who enjoy the breathtaking display. But with all eyes on the sky, parents need to be aware of the potential danger of fireworks. Each year, thousands of children under the age of 15 wind up in emergency departments with injuries, 15% of those injuries being eye-related.

Fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye and cause retinal detachment, blunt force trauma, chemical and thermal burns, and corneal abrasions. The eye injuries may lead to permanent loss of vision.

How can you practice eye safety to keep your kids safe – and still let them have fun- this fireworks season? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Stick to Public Light Shows

The best way to keep your family safe is to leave fireworks to the pros. Attend public firework displays which are plenty in the first week of July. Make it a tradition to hit your favorite local spots for all the fun and wow without the risks of handling fireworks.

Sub Out the Sparklers

You might be tempted to “start off” your little tots with sparklers or firecrackers. Bad idea. Sparklers get super-hot and can heat up to 1,800 degrees, which is hot enough to melt gold or glass. Your kid’s little hands can’t hold them at a safe enough distance. How about this instead? Let your little ones have fun with glow sticks.

Keep Your Distance

Whether you’re attending a public light display or setting off fireworks at home, make sure everyone is positioned far back from where the fireworks are being set off. Your kid may run towards something dangerous or the fireworks may go awry and head the wrong way. The further you are from the set-off site, the better you can handle unpredictable problems.

Take Necessary Precautions

If you decide to light fireworks, be sure take handle them with extreme care and caution. Follow these safety tips:

  • Buy only legal fireworks
  • Never try to make your own fireworks, even from a kit
  • Choose an open, level outdoor area
  • Don’t hold light fireworks from the hand
  • Point fireworks away from people and homes
  • Steer clear of leaves, bushes, dry grass, and flammable substances
  • Stay away from others setting off fireworks
  • Don’t put charges in bottles or cans
  • Appoint a sober, responsible adult to light fireworks
  • Let your kids wear protective eyeglasses for their eye safety
  • Light one firework at a time
  • Don’t try to handle or relight malfunctioning fireworks. Douse them with water and throw them away
  • Have an adult supervise your kids and pets
  • Have noise-protecting headphones for babies
  • Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after the show
  • After the event, soak all fireworks materials in a bucket of water and dispose of them properly
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby

You don’t want to spend the holiday in the ER with an injured child. Some thoughts and planning will make sure that your little ones stay safe. Ensure their eyes are protected so they can see the remarkable fireworks displays for years to come.