Why are Sparklers so Dangerous?

Playing with sparklers requires great care.

Sparklers seem like the perfect "starter" firework for kids. The joy on children's faces as they write their names in the dark makes them a tempting treat. June 1 through July 4 is National Fireworks Safety Month, so brush up on your sparkler knowledge to keep your family safe.

What is a sparkler made of?
A flammable material encases a thin metal rod, like a larger, slower burning matchstick. The metal rod, which the person holds while the top sparkles, can grow quite hot.

Why do sparklers frequently cause injuries?
Because sparklers are so common, they are a leading cause of injury. Here are several reasons that sparklers cause harm:

  • Sparks can jump far from the sparkler head.
  • The sparkler head can reach as much as 800 degrees Fahrenheit or higher leading to dangerous burns.
  • Smoke inhalation from spent sparklers is unhealthy.

How can I avoid injury from sparklers?
A few key tips can keep your sparkler endeavors safe and fun.

  • Keep an alert eye on children playing with sparklers and never let a child light his own. Participate in the fun so they can see proper sparkler handling.
  • Insist that children keep sparklers at arm's length.
  • Never throw sparklers.
  • Wear non-flammable gloves when lighting and playing with sparklers and, ideally, safety glasses.
  • Prevent inebriated people from handling sparklers.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy in case of burns.
  • Extinguish sprinkler remnants completely by dunking them in water before disposing in the garbage. Sparkler embers cause fires.
  • Keep sparklers separated from other fireworks.
  • Have a first aid kit handy in case of burns.

The safest tip of all is avoiding sparklers altogether. Glow sticks offer an alternative; they don't involve fire and last for hours.

Don't underestimate the dangers of sparklers. If you experience a severe burn, call 911. Denton Regional Medical Center's Urgent Care Center is there for you and your family in case of minor burns, and our Emergency Care Center handles critical injuries. For information, visit our website or for a physician's referral, call 1-855-477-DRMC (3762).

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