How to Safely Enjoy New Year’s Eve

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The new year is right around the corner and for many people that means opening bottles of champagne and shooting fireworks to celebrate with friends and family. What we often fail to realize is that there is some risk associated with these celebratory traditions.

Did you know that a champagne cork can fly up to 50 mph as it leaves the bottle? If the cork flies in the wrong direction and hits someone in the eye, it can cause bleeding, abrasions and even damage the optic nerve.

Champagne cork accidents are real. In 2019 a champagne cork accident blinded reality star Theo Campbell, and even after two surgeries he has not been able to recover vision on the injured eye.

Open a champagne bottle safely following these simple tips:

Keep champagne cold

Champagne bubbles are filled with gas that expands when warm. To prevent the bottle from opening unexpectedly, always make sure your champagne bottle is cold. You can either put it in the refrigerator or on ice.

Don’t shake the bottle

Shaking a bottle of champagne builds pressure and causes the cork to fly from the bottle at extremely high speed. Instead, hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle away from yourself or any other person.

Press down on the cork while firmly twisting the bottle

Tear off the foil, then remove the wire. Then, place a towel over the top of the bottle and grasp the cork. Slowly and firmly twist the base of the bottle while holding the cork firmly. Do this until the pressure in the bottle begins to push the cork out on its own. Press down on the cork to prevent it from popping out too quickly.

FIREWORKS SAFETY IS ALSO IMPORTANT

Another common injury during New Year’s celebrations are fireworks injuries. Just last year Dr. Evans was called to the Emergency Room to evaluate a patient that was seriously injured. The patient was in charge of the fireworks for a large gathering of family and friends. Unfortunately, during the grand finale, the patient noticed a certain mortar-type firework failed to light properly. When the patient approached the fireworks to investigate, they leaned over the mortar at the precise moment the firework detonated. The patient suffered severe burns to the face and unfortunately the eye was not able to be repaired.

Fireworks are best enjoyed when left to the experts. If consumer fireworks are legal for you to buy where you live, here are a few safety tips should you choose to use them:

  • Never allow children to handle fireworks
  • Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or others nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold ignited fireworks
  • Do not use fireworks indoors
  • Use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person or in their direction
  • Light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks

We hope these simple tips are helpful as you welcome the new year , but in case an eye injury does occur, it is very important to see an ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room immediately.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!