Fireworks Safety News Release

For more information:
Prevent Blindness, Whitney Anderson
614-464-2020 ext. 105 Cell: 614-226-5772
 Ohio Department of Commerce, Bill Krugh
Child Injury Prevention Alliance, Dr. Gary Smith
                                           State of Ohio Leaders Urges Public to Celebrate Independence Day Safely,
                                         Leave Fireworks to Competent Licensed Operators in Authorized Displays Only

                                                 – An Estimated 16 Percent of All Fireworks Injuries Are to the Eyes

COLUMBUS, OH (July 1, 2016) – The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of State Fire Marshal, Child Injury Prevention Alliance, and the Ohio Eye Care Coalition joined forces at the State Fire Marshal’s Office today to educate Ohioans about the dangers of backyard fireworks.
Ohioans are being urged NOT to use backyard fireworks because of the high fire danger the risk of personal injury – specifically to young children – and the potential penalty for breaking Ohio’s fireworks law.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Fireworks Annual Report released Thursday, in 2015 11,900 people were treated in emergency departments for firework-related injuries. An estimated 8,000 fireworks-related injuries, or 67 percent of people treated, occurred during the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July Holiday.
“Prevent Blindness supports a total BAN on backyard fireworks, including sparklers, which are widely available at grocery and department stores,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness. “Last year, 1,900 serious injuries occurred due to the use of sparklers and for children under 5 years old they were responsible for nearly 65 percent of the injuries. Sparklers burn at between 1200 and 1400 degrees. “Putting that heat on a wire – which conducts heat – is a severe danger to put in the hands of small children,” added Williams.
Injuries to children under the age of 15 accounted for 26 percent of the estimated firework-related injuries. Young adults 15 to 19 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated fireworks related injuries. The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (an estimated 32 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 25 percent); legs (an estimated 15 percent); and eyes (an estimated 16 percent – 1300 eye injuries).  
Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH, president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance, and a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital-Columbus said, “our studies show that parental supervision is not enough to prevent consumer fireworks injuries to children – in fact, children who are simply bystanders and not even handling the fireworks are often injured. The words that I hear when parents bring their child crying in pain to the emergency department after a firework injury are always the same: ‘Doctor, I can’t believe that this happened to my child. I was standing right there, but it happened so fast that I could not do anything in time to stop it from happening’. These are good parents who simply believed the myth that these products could be used safely. Do not make that mistake with your family.”
There are three types of fireworks in Ohio, all of which are hazardous: Trick and novelty items such as sparklers and snakes that can be legally sold and used by anyone; exhibitor fireworks which require a license to sell, purchase and use; and consumer class fireworks such as bottle rockets and roman candles, which require a license to sell. Consumer fireworks can be purchased by anyone over the age of 18, but must be removed from the state within a certain timeframe and cannot be legally discharged in Ohio.
 “The Division of State Fire Marshal encourages all Ohioans to attend public fireworks displays. These displays are hosted by local municipalities and licensed exhibitors,” said Chief Frank Conway, Fire Prevention Bureau. “Besides being safer and legal, professional fireworks displays are better than any exhibit that could be produced with consumer fireworks.”
Fireworks Safety Facts:

  • In 2015, 11,900 people were treated in emergency departments for firework-related injuries.
  • There were eleven fireworks-related deaths.
  • 8,000 of the injuries (67 percent) occurred during a one-month period around the Fourth of July Holiday.
  • In 2015, fireworks caused 19 structure fires, resulting in an estimated $338,000 in property loss and content loss in Ohio. These numbers are as reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Fire Prevention Bureau by Ohio’s fire departments.
  • The size of the fireworks product is no indication of the amount of the explosive material inside it.
  • The major causes of injuries are due to delayed or early fireworks explosions, errant flight paths of rockets, debris from aerial fireworks, and mishandling of sparklers.


Based on the 7,000 injuries around the one-month period:

  • Firecrackers (1,200), sparklers (1,900), and bottle rockets 800 accounted for the most injuries last year.

  • The parts of the body most injured were hands and fingers (estimated 2600 injuries), head, face, and ears (2,000 injuries), legs (1,200 injuries), eyes (1,300 injuries) and arms (300 injuries).

  • Sparklers, often given to young children, burn at 1200 degrees or even hotter—hot enough to melt copper.

  • For children under the age of 5 there were 700 injuries altogether, with sparklers (24 percent) accounted for 65 percent of the estimated injuries for that age group.

  • Sparklers caused 1,900 injuries altogether.

  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for approximately 26 percent of the estimated 2015 injuries. More than half of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.

  • Of the fireworks-related injuries sustained, 61 percent were to males, and 39 percent were to females.

Prevent Blindness has these tips to help prevent fireworks-related injuries:

  • Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type.

  • Be aware that even sparklers are dangerous and caused 65 percent of fireworks injuries in children five years old and younger last year.

Prevent Blindness has these tips to help prevent fireworks-related injuries:

  • Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks.

  • Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous

  • Support policies that ban the importation, general sale and indiscriminate usage of fireworks by children and adults.

The Ohio Eye Care Coalition offers the following guidance in responding to eye injuries:

  • Do not delay medical attention, even for seemingly mild injuries. “Mild” injuries can worsen and end in vision loss or even blindness that might not have occurred had a doctor provided treatment early on.

  • Do not rub the eye nor attempt to rinse out the eye.

  • Avoid giving aspirin or ibuprofen to try to reduce the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs thin the blood and might increase bleeding. Acetaminophen is the over-the-counter drug of choice.

  • Do not apply ointment or any medication. It is probably not sterile. Also, ointments make the eye area slippery, which could slow the doctor’s examination at a time when every second counts.

Ohio Eye Care Coalition (OECC)
A group of organizations that work together to provide a forum for discussion and action on vision care policies and programs geared to enhancing the eye health and safety status for all Ohioans. Members include Ohio Ophthalmological Society, Ohio Optometric Association, Opticians Association of Ohio and the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness. Facilitation is provided by The Ohio Department of Health.
Ohio Department of Commerce
A list of frequently asked questions on fireworks is available in the press room at
The Child Injury Prevention Alliance works to prevent injuries, both intentional and unintentional, to children and adolescents in the U.S. and around the world. The organization achieves its goals through trans-disciplinary scientific research carried on in the public interest, by translating research findings into programs and policies, by providing leadership in injury prevention initiatives and advocacy, and by fostering national and global collaboration in injury research and prevention. Injury professionals and parents seeking information about child and adolescent injury prevention can visit , , follow us on Twitter (, or follow our boards on Pinterest (, or subscribe to us on YouTube ( Media requests can be directed to 614-398-2472.
About Prevent Blindness 
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020.  Or, visit us on the web at or and Twitter at!/PB_Ohio.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Annual Report is available in full at:
To view a sparkler demonstration: