East Lansing Fire Department explains sparkler safety

East Lansing, MI (WILX) - Sparklers light up the night as a Fourth of July tradition. Especially for little ones.

It can be so easy to grab a sparkler, light it up and pass it on to a child, but firefighters are warning for parents to think twice.

Ross and Katie aren’t children anymore. While they’ve had their fun with sparklers they’ve also had the not-so-fun.

“One time a spark flew off on to my sandals and my sandal caught on fire and I had to throw it away,” Katie said. “It was scary, those were my favorite sandals. I was sad.”

Sparklers are tricky and can be scary no matter your age. But Captain Kirk Easterbrook says children really need especially careful. They account for about 60% of injuries to children under five.

“Once you get them lit, you have basically a welding rod in your hands,” Easterbrook said.

While easy to hold, and much quieter than the big fireworks, Captain Kirk Easterbrook says they can burn up to 2,000 degrees.

“They’re very hot and if they turnaround and step on them, that’s where they get the burn injuries from,” Easterbrook said. When I was a kid I used to weld them together wire to wire because they’re literally just that hot.”

When demonstrating just how dangerous, Captain Easterbrook burned his thumb.

“When it lit it started throwing sparks and actually it didn’t burn me badly but that’s the kind of burn you can get just trying to light the sparkler,” he explained.

Sparklers can even start fires if dropped in the wrong spot.

“It can sit there and smolder and you walk away from it because you don’t think anything is going on and an hour later you have a big fire because it’s gained enough strength to be able to burn across your lawn,” Easterbrook said.

He says children should wear gloves kids and be at least 10 feet apart.

“You don’t have to stop using them. You just have to start using them in a safe manner,” he said.

Some alternatives to the metal sparkler, you can use those with bamboo handles which don’t get as hot. There are also glow sticks, party poppers and bubbles.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.