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Christmas is that most wonderful time of the year when fireworks feature as a source of entertainment and celebration at parties and other events. Fireworks are fun but can be dangerous because those using them can get carried away by the pyrotechnics. Careless handling of fireworks can cause eye injuries ranging from temporary to permanent sight loss. The heat from a single sparkler or ‘bisco’ can reach 2,000 degrees and exploding firecrackers (banger) can reach speeds of 80mph.

It is therefore important that we stay safe and protect ourselves, especially our eyes, when using fireworks. We can achieve this by adhering to the rules and guidelines listed below.

No young children allowed

Fireworks that are considered ‘safe’ for children still burn at extremely high temperatures and are therefore not actually safe for young children. This is because children might not understand the danger involved with the use of fireworks and may not know what to do if an emergency arises.

Older children can use fireworks, but it must be with a very close adult supervision and monitoring.

Outdoors, never indoors

Always set up your fireworks display outdoors, in a clearing far away from buildings, dry leaves, dry grass and other flammable materials. Ensure that a bucket of water is nearby for emergencies and also for pouring on any fireworks that did not burn up or explode.

Wear the right clothes and stay far, far away

Do not lean over fireworks when lighting them. It is also advisable to put on long-sleeved, thick and well covered outfits with a face shield or protective eyewear. This would serve as an extra protection from injuries. Before lighting up any fireworks, ensure that people are far away from where you are. This would minimize the possibility of skin and eye injuries for them.

No confinement and no other heat source

Do NOT, for any reason place, light fireworks in any kind of container, especially a glass or metal one. Keep all unused fireworks away from combustible heat sources such as bonfires, kitchens, in-house fireplaces, and sites for burning refuse. This would help to prevent sudden and hazardous fire outbreaks that can cause injury and destroy property.

Always take personal and environmental safety consciousness seriously whenever you use fireworks. You should not have to spend the festive season in pain from avoidable fireworks-related eye injuries. Contact us for more information on how to keep the eyes safe this season.