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Sparkler Safety Tips

A sparkler glows in front of an American flagSparklers light up a summer evening with their crackling glow and glowing trail of light. Kids of all ages are in awe of the sparks that fly around Fourth of July celebrations.

Sparklers are a must-have at many backyard celebrations. The wire sticks are dipped to about two thirds of its length in a mixture of chemicals and metals. Oxidizers fuel the sparkler and keep it burning at temperatures that can reach more than 1,000° F. Metal flakes in the mixture cause the sparking and glow that sparklers are known for.

Safety tips

Sparklers are often thought to be safer than fireworks. However, during the excitement of Independence Day celebrations, it is easy to overlook their hazards.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that approximately 16 percent of all consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs. Young children account for the majority of sparkler injuries.

Excited kids cannot wait to hold and wave the sparklers around. Teaching them how to safely handle sparklers helps prevent needless injuries. As disappointed as they may be, do not let children younger than 12 hold a sparkler. They often lack the physical coordination to handle sparklers safely and likely will not know what to do in an emergency. Close supervision of older children is necessary.

Set a good example, too. The National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS) reminds parents to be mindful when they use sparklers around children.

Have fun using sparklers safely by following these tips:

  1. Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person. Give them an unlit sparkler and then light it. If a youth is holding the sparkler, have an adult light it. Only light one sparkler at a time and hold one sparkler at a time.
  2. Those using sparklers should stand at least six feet away from each other. Never use a sparkler when sitting down or holding a child.
  3. Be aware that sparks can ignite clothing, so avoid loose fitting clothes that could catch fire. Closed-toe shoes help prevent foot burns.
  4. The sparkler wire stays hot long after the flame has burned out, so drop the used sparklers directly in a bucket of water.

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