How to Celebrate Safely with Sparklers - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 27, 2016

How to Celebrate Safely with Sparklers

Sparklers burn as hot as 3,000° F

Sparklers can burn as hot as 3,000° F,
depending on the chemicals they’re coated with.

This Fourth of July, you’ll likely celebrate with a cookout, maybe see a parade and, almost certainly, some fireworks. If you’re going to celebrate at home with fireworks, there are some important things for you to know. Specifically, Pennsylvania requires you to have a permit to use most fireworks.

One of the exceptions is sparklers – you don’t need a permit to light up those chemical covered wires that burn brightly for about a minute. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be careful. Consider this: Sparklers burn as hot as 3,000° F (yes, really), depending on which chemicals they’re coated with. That’s hot enough to melt some metals, and clearly hot enough to ignite clothing or cause severe burns.

Here are some safety tips for using sparklers, from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Be sure to supervise children under the age of 12. They need to be watched closely if they’re going to hold the sparklers. You can also teach them the rest of these safety tips.
  • Stand up when holding a sparkler. If you’re sitting, it can be difficult to avoid a sparkler you accidentally drop; if it lands in your lap, you could be seriously burned.
  • Skip the flip flops. You should wear closed-toe shoes when handling sparklers, for added protection in case you drop the sparkler.
  • Give each child his own individual sparkler and then light it rather than passing an already lit sparkler; that can be an awkward handoff.
  • Remember to light just one sparkler at a time; it can be dangerous to light more than one at a time.
  • Everyone using a sparkler should be at least six feet from one another.
  • It’s fun to wave your sparkler in the air or “write” against the night sky. Don’t do it; it’s dangerous to wave around a sparkler, as they can slip out of your grasp, or you could spin around right into someone who isn’t paying attention.
  • Don’t throw or toss sparklers.
  • Dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water. Just because the flame goes out doesn’t mean the sparkler has cooled off – remember, it was a couple thousand degrees just a few minutes before.

If someone is burned by a sparkler, rinse the burn with cool water until the pains stops. Do not use ice water or icepacks; they can cause tissue damage. Wash your hands, and then clean the burn. Don’t break any blisters that may have formed. Seek medical treatment if the pain does not subside shortly or if any large blisters form.

If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop and roll. And, particularly because chemicals are involved when it comes to sparklers, you should head to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

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