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5900 Heckert Rd.
P.O. Box 324
Bakerstown, PA 15007
724-443-6767 Phone
724-443-6730 Fax

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Natrona Heights, PA 15065
724-226-0444 Phone
724-226-0744 Fax


Fireworks Safety and Backyard Celebrations

We are starting to see displays of fireworks in local retail stores. Families are beginning to plan for Fourth of July celebrations. While these shows bring joy and excitement, it’s important to remember that fireworks can pose a risk to our eyes. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of fireworks safety, the dangers of sparklers for young children, and practical tips to protect your eyes during celebrations.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology “Fireworks caused 11 deaths and 10,200 injuries in 2022, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s most recent annual fireworks injury report (PDF). Most fireworks injuries happen between mid-June and mid-July.

Fireworks are advertised like toys around the Fourth of July. You may think you know how to handle them safely. Regardless of how careful you are, flaws in equipment and explosives are a leading cause of fireworks injuries and deaths — and more people are harmed every year.”

The most vulnerable group is children and young adults, often due to improper handling and lack of protective measures.

Sparklers, often viewed as the safer alternative to larger fireworks, are deceptively dangerous, especially for young children.

Here’s why sparklers pose a significant risk:

  • High Temperatures: Sparklers can burn at temperatures exceeding 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause severe burns almost instantly.
  • Eye Hazards: The bright, sparkling light can lead to debris and sparks flying into the eyes, causing injuries ranging from minor irritations to serious burns.
  • Young Children’s Coordination: Children under five years old, who are often given sparklers, lack the fine motor control and understanding to handle them safely, increasing the risk of accidental injuries.

To keep kids safe, it’s best to consider alternatives like glow sticks or LED light wands, which provide fun without the danger.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a professional fireworks display where experts handle the pyrotechnics. Watch from a safe distance to reduce the risk of injury. Stay at least 500 feet away from the fireworks launch site. This distance helps protect you from falling debris and potential malfunctions.

Wear protective eyewear if you’re handling fireworks or are in close proximity, wear safety goggles or shatterproof glasses. Regular glasses or sunglasses do not provide adequate protection. Only use fireworks as intended. Do not attempt to modify or combine them. Read and follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer. If a firework fails to ignite, do not try to relight it. Wait for at least 20 minutes and then soak it in water before disposing of it. Keep pets indoors during fireworks displays to prevent them from being startled or injured.

First Aid for Eye Injuries

Despite precautions, accidents can still happen. Knowing how to respond promptly can make a significant difference:

  • Do Not Rub the Eye: Rubbing can cause further damage.
  • Flush with Water: Use clean water to gently rinse the eye if debris or chemicals enter it.
  • Do Not Apply Pressure: Avoid putting pressure on the injured eye.
  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Contact an eye care professional or visit the emergency room immediately. Time is crucial in preventing long-term damage.

Fireworks add magic to our celebrations, but safety must always come first. By understanding the risks and taking appropriate precautions, you can protect your eyes and ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone. Wishing everyone a safe and memorable 4th of July.

About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.