Sparklers – BE SAFE!

Sparklers remain one of the most dangerous fireworks in terms of accident statistics simply because they are taken for granted. Year after year people underestimate the dangers of these traditional items and get burnt. If you are using these and in particular if you are giving them to children then please read this article for guidance.


Why sparklers are dangerous

In a word – heat. Sparklers consist of a metal rod with a thin coating of pyrotechnic compound. This burns to give the sparks and in the process heats up to several hundred degrees celsius. They also remain very hot after use as the metal rod takes a few minutes to cool down. Outdoor sparklers also give off unpleasant smoke, especially the coloured varieties.


This sparkler has already gone out but is still hot enough to melt through plastic


Using sparklers safely

The good news is you can enjoy sparklers safely by taking a number of common sense precautions:

Always wear gloves

Don’t hold sparklers in your hand unless you are wearing gloves. This significantly reduces the chance of being burned.

Always supervise children

Never leave children on their own with sparklers. Always keep an eye on them! Children really have no idea how hot sparklers get and it is your responsibility to look after them. As directed by the packet, never give sparklers to children under 5 years old.

Always light them one at a time

Never light more than one sparkler at once. Putting them together creates a risk of flare-up. With a bundle of sparklers this can be enough to burn your arms or face! Light them one at a time with a good lighter or a firework lighter called a portfire. You can also use a chef’s blow torch or similar.


Used safely, sparklers are a lot of fun

Don’t give them to drunk adults

The capacity of grown men and women to create havoc with sparklers when they’re drunk is staggering. This is especially the case at New Year or weddings. It is recommended that a responsible and sober person ensures the sparklers are lit singly and disposed of carefully.

Put spent sparklers in water or sand

As they remain very hot after use, dispose of them in a bucket of water or sand.

Keep them well away from your fireworks

Don’t use sparklers near other fireworks because of the dangers posed by stray sparks and spent sparklers.

Don’t use them indoors

Unless they are designed for indoor use and this is clearly marked on the label, don’t use them indoors because of the unpleasant smoke created and the danger of hot sparks setting fire to furnishings.


Sparklers as fundraisers

If you intend to give out or sell sparklers at a display for fundraising purposes, consider all of the above dangers and ask yourself whether it is worth the risk. Better alternatives include glow sticks and glow necklaces which are non-toxic and also last for 8 hours. If you must give sparklers to the public do so in a specific area and marshal it very carefully, have buckets of water and first aid standing by. And make sure it is covered by your insurance policy.

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