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Be safe around fireworks this 4th of July

Summer time is play time for kids. But sports, swimming and fireworks injuries keep doctors busy around the clock.

Dr. Paul Rychwalski, Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology

"As summer rolls along and the fourth of July comes we're very busy in the ER and OR because of injuries related to fireworks."

Dr. Paul Rychwalski is the Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology at the University of Louisville. He sees the devastation fireworks can cause first hand.

Dr. Rychwalski again

"Roman candles and bottle rockets are the most dangerous because they're actually projectiles. The most penetrating injuries are when the firework causes damage to the eye wall itself."

Rychwalski adds that half of the fireworks related eye injuries in children come from sparklers.

Dr. Rychwalski adds

"Usually children under five are attracted to these sparklers because older children like more fancy types of fireworks. The heat can reach temps of 1800 degrees. That's hot enough to melt gold."

Not even lighting fireworks on the ground and walking away reduces the risk of injury.

Rychwalski continues

"You're counting on the fuse to be the same each time you light a firework. Anyone with experience can tell you the fuse can immediately burn and go off."

The American Academy of Opthalmology encourages families to attend public fireworks displays instead of taking the risk at home.

Rychwalski concludes

"There are people paid to put on fireworks shows and very extravagant displays, better than in the backyard. The wow factor is there and they are trained with stand by for fire departments. So leave the fireworks to those people."

Rychwalski says most fireworks injuries occur around the Fourth of July holiday.

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