Think Sparklers Are for Kids? Think Again!
When it comes to celebrating the summer holidays, fireworks are a big draw. They are festive and fun—lighting up the night and drawing loads of oohs and aahs. Lighting fireworks comes with numerous risks for injury. We’ve almost all heard of people winding up in the emergency room due to a fireworks tragedy. That’s why many people would agree that these pyrotechnic displays are best left to the professionals.
But even though you may be willing to forgo lighting your own bottle rockets and roman candles for safety reasons, you probably don’t give a second thought to passing out sparklers to friends and family of all ages. But you should.
Sparklers account for a high percentage of the injuries, emergency room visits and fires that occur due to all type of fireworks each year. More than half of fireworks injuries to children under age 5 are caused by sparklers.
Sparklers can burn at temperatures as high as 1,200 – 2,000 degrees, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That’s hot enough to melt some metals, so you can imagine what that heat can do to sensitive little hands. The sparks can also cause burns on other parts of the body and eye injuries.
Many people don’t recognize the danger posed by sparklers and let children play with them as if they were toys. But that can be a recipe for disaster.
Here are some safety precautions that should be taken when using sparklers:
- Never let very young children hold sparklers or get too close to them.
- Even if you think children are old enough to use sparklers, make sure they use them safely. Show them how to hold the sparkler and what part they should never touch.
- Instruct children to never run or goof around while holding a sparkler.
- Explain that sparklers should never be put too close to their own body or that of someone else.
- Only hold one sparkler at a time.
- Make sure there are no flammable materials nearby when using sparklers.
- Never try to relight a sparkler that didn’t work.
- Don’t make your own sparklers.
- Soak all sparklers in a bucket of water before throwing them away.
Looking for a safer way for kids to join in the fun during summer holidays? Give them some glow sticks, streamers, noise makers, confetti or bubbles. These can be just as festive without the risk of injury that comes from sparklers.
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Date Last Reviewed: May 16, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD