Nearly Half of All Fireworks-Related Injuries are to Innocent Bystanders


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Prevent Blindness

Whitney Anderson

Phone:  (800) 301-2020 ext. 105

Email address: [email protected]

                               Prevent Blindness Warns Ohioans about the Dangers of Backyard Fireworks
                                                 -Nearly Half of Injuries are to Innocent Bystanders

Columbus, OH (June 15, 2018) – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), estimated that injuries from fireworks sent 11,100  Americans to the emergency room in  2016 with 68% occurring around the month of the Fourth of July holiday.  Nearly 50% of injuries were to bystanders and 31% to children under 15 years of age. Sadly, the CPSC also reported four non-occupational fireworks-related deaths.

The CPSC states that burns from fireworks are the most common injury to all parts of the body, except the eyes, where contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eyes occurred more frequently. Last year 1,000 fireworks injuries were to the eye and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately one third of eye injuries from fireworks result in permanent blindness.

Fireworks laws vary from state to state and sometimes, within different counties. In Ohio, it is not legal to discharge consumer fireworks including firecrackers, missiles, bottle rockets and fountains. Unfortunately, more and more states are going the route of legalizing consumer discharge of backyard fireworks with dire consequences.  Study results from Iowa, a state that just experienced its first summer of legal consumer fireworks use after a decades-long ban, show injuries due to backyard fireworks increased by 163% over the previous three-year average.  In addition, 67% of Iowans were in favor of consumer fireworks before the ban was lifted and only 47% were in favor after.

A 2016  study, “Effect of Fireworks Laws on Pediatric Fireworks-Related Burn Injuries,” published in the Journal of Burn Care & Research, concluded that the relaxing of fireworks laws in the United States has had a dramatic effect on the severity of the related injuries to children, resulting in more inpatient admissions and longer length of stay in the hospital.

Prevent Blindness believes that there is no safe way to use fireworks and supports the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except those used in authorized public displays by competent licensed operators. Prevent Blindness facilitates the Ohio Fireworks Safety Coalition and Ohioans Against Fireworks whose member organizations educate the public on the dangers of consumer fireworks and endorse public policies to help protect adults and children from needless injuries from fireworks.

In addition to the many healthcare and safety groups that oppose fireworks legalization, other opponents are animal advocates that report that dog shelters are overrun around 4 July with dogs that have been startled by fireworks discharges and run off.  Farmers similarly express concerns as fireworks can startle cattle and other livestock or cause damage to crops. Veterans suffering from PTSD endure symptoms and stress brought on by fireworks discharge.

“The Fourth of July can still be fun without backyard fireworks or sparklers,” said Sherry Williams. President & CEO of the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness. “By attending only fireworks shows run by licensed professionals, and being vigilant, we can celebrate our nation’s birthday with family and friends, not in the emergency room.”

For more information on the dangers of fireworks, please call Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate at (800) 301-2020 or visit

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 one million 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.