A sparkler’s flame typically glows at 2,000 degrees—hot enough to melt a penny. Many children are mesmerized by this dancing source of light. They hold it close to their face, chase others and swipe it within close vicinity to their clothing. It can make a dog’s tail a downright fire hazard!
With these potential dangers in mind, I recommend that children age 10 and younger should not be given sparklers (or any fireworks for that matter). My suggestion: Go to a safe fireworks display in your community instead.
Burns from sparklers are preventable. But, as caregivers for children, it’s helpful to know the three levels of skin burns, and how to react to each one.
First-degree Burns (Treat at Home):
The outer layer of skin is affected, skin appears red and swollen, but not blistered.
- For burns that do not involve your child’s head or face, soak the burned area in cool water for 5 minutes. Do not use cold or iced water. Pat it dry.
- Never put butter or oils on a burn. Apply a lotion without perfume for moisture to the burn area 2 or 3 times a day. The skin may peel as the burn heals.
Second-degree Burns (Visit your Pediatrician or Urgent Care):
Involves deeper layers but not the entire skin; blisters or looks raw or red.
- Do not break blisters and watch carefully for signs of infections such as redness, swelling, yellow drainage or red streaks moving away from the burn area.
- Follow your doctor’s advice to clean and dress the burn. Your child may need a tetanus booster if there are any open areas on the burn.
Third-degree Burns (Visit Urgent Care or Emergency Department):
All layers of the skin and the tissue underneath are burned. Whitish or charred area and does not hurt when touched because the nerves in the skin have been destroyed.
- Call your child’s doctor right away for all third-degree burns, even small ones. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.
- Your child may need skin grafts or special care if the burn is larger than a half-dollar. He may also need a tetanus booster.