Utah woman has message of fireworks safety after losing eye from firework

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cautionary tale from one Utah woman on firework safety

MURRAY, Utah (Intermountain Healthcare) — On average, 230 people go to an emergency room every day with firework-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Understanding the dangers of fireworks can help prevent these injuries and help your family stay safe.

Hera are 5 safety practices you should do this 4th:

  • Don’t allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstance. Sparklers may seem safe, but did you know they burn at nearly 1800 F? That is hot enough to melt gold – and cause serious burns.
  • Use fireworks in an area clear of burn dangers, or combustible materials – it’s really dry out there, so watch out for wood. Pile, brush fields, and your home!
  • Never try to relight or handle fireworks that won’t light. Just soak with water and throw it away.
  • Always keep a bucket of water for emergencies and soaking fireworks that don’t work.
  • Once a firework is burning, stand a safe distance back and enjoy the show. Also, give the firework plenty of time to run its course.

3 Most Dangerous Fireworks

Family, friends, BBQs, and patriotic music fill the day with fun and excitement for the fireworks nightcap. While all fireworks have risk and danger associated with them, according to the American Association of Pediatrics the three most dangerous fireworks common at most family parties are:

  • Sparklers
  • Aerials
  • Firecrackers

These fireworks send 85,000 children in the U.S. to the hospital emergency department with serious injuries each year. Avoiding the most dangerous fireworks and using some simple common-sense guidelines can help you enjoy the celebration injury free. Here are a few guidelines if the unthinkable happens – your child is injured by fireworks:

  • Go immediately to a doctor or hospital.
  • Don’t flush an injured eye with water or attempt to put ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, put it around the eye and see immediate medical attention – your child’s eyesight may depend on it.
  • If the injury is a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn. Call your doctor immediately.

Top 3 Most Injured Body Parts:

  • Hands
  • Eyes
  • Face

Patient Background: Kryshelle Houghton

Nine years ago, Kryshelle Houghton safely stood on her driveway watching friends shoot off New Year’s Eve fireworks. She never imagined what impact that celebration wound have on the rest of her life. After a friend lit off a firework ironically named the “Lucky Seven,” it accidentally tipped over and hit Houghton directly in her left eye. Tragically, Houghton, who was 19 at the time lost the vision in her eye that night.

In Houghton’s case, she wasn’t participating in any sort of risky firework behavior at the time of her accident. “I wasn’t doing anything unsafe – I was standing there in the driveway watching a show in the road,” Houghton said. “People don’t realize how unsafe (fireworks) can be. They can be so dangerous. I personally don’t ever do the big, huge type of fireworks. If we do fireworks, we go to a show put on by the city.”

After years of surgeries and plenty of strange looks, Houghton received the last of her eye surgeries two years ago. Doctors removed her eye, sewed her eye socket shut, and gave her a prosthetic eye six weeks later. It has a hand-painted iris to match her other eye, and a Utah Valley surgeon attached the prosthetic to her muscles, so it moves at the same time as her other eye.

“I’m an adult and done growing, so I can leave this in forever. I don’t ever have to get another prosthetic eye again unless something happens to it. I pretty much keep it in all the time, even when I sleep or swim. It just stays in,” said Houghton, who is now married with three children.

Houghton works as a radiology technician as the InstaCare in north Orem. She encourages everyone to focus more on firework safety during their celebrations this summer.

Firework safety is a frequently discussed topic this time of year, But, the real-life consequences of firework accidents are rarely talked about as often.

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