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Proper eye protection is encouraged during the summer, especially in July when firework use is common.
Fireworks Safety
Sean Collins, MD, UC emergency medicine physician, speaks about the hazards of the improper use of fireworks.

Proper eye protection is encouraged during the summer, especially in July when firework use is common.

Fireworks commonly cause eye injuries in the summer. It is important to wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.

Sean Collins, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine.
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Publish Date: 07/02/09
Media Contact: Angela Koenig, 513-558-4625
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UC HEALTH LINE: Play With Fire and You Could Get Burned

CINCINNATI—The Fourth of July is a fun family holiday, but each year thousands of Americans suffer injuries from fireworks.

University Hospital emergency medicine physician Sean Collins, MD, says when using fireworks, the bottom line is that you need to be careful.

Collins, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and a doctor with UC Physicians, says injuries often happen when kids are using fireworks without supervision.

“The Fourth of July usually goes pretty uneventfully for most people, but even things we consider to be benign like sparklers and smoke bombs create heat and sparks which can cause eye injuries and burns to the skin.”

Alcohol, he says, can be another factor in serious fireworks injuries.

“When alcohol and fireworks are mixed, often times it ends up in a bad situation,” Collins.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers the following tips:

• Use fireworks outdoors only.
• Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
• Always have water handy.
• Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
• Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
• Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
• Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
• Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives.

“There are warnings about serious fireworks for a reason, because they’re serious,” says Collins. “If you want to enjoy the real professional fireworks, then let the professionals handle it.”

For more information on fireworks safety, visit

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