TAMPA, Fla. -- Sparklers may seem like a safer option for kids on the Fourth of July but new data shows those fire sticks are one of the biggest reasons young children end up in the emergency room.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, sparklers are like blow torches and can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
In 2018, more than 9,000 people were treated at the ER for fireworks injuries. Experts say you shouldn’t allow children to handle fireworks sparklers caused more than half of their injuries.
"We're seeing these injuries in children under five,” said Dr. Sarah Combs, an ER Doctor at Children’s National. "Now children of those age, they explore the environment about them by touch and feel. So even if a nearby adult is the one holding the sparkler, all it takes is that split second for the toddler to reach out towards that shiny, alluring flame and it's all over.”
There is a new device similar to a selfie stick that allows you to hold a sparkler two to three feet away from your body.
"If the hand is down here, it could easily spark back down this way,” said Corey Crews, the Regional manager for Phantom Fireworks in Tampa.
He says the sparkler extension will lessen the chance of getting burned.
It’s why he suggests folks keep a bucket of water or hose nearby to douse fireworks in an emergency.
Crews added you should soak the sparklers in a bucket of water before putting them in the trash.
“Take the sparkler and stick it down in the sand, light it and get back,” Crews said, if you don’t want to hold it at all.
Jammal Rainey and his family made a last minute trip to Phantom Fireworks to get supplies for their party tonight. He says setting ground rules with his son Elvis is important.
"Supervision is the main key, just making sure we are watching them at all times,” he said.
He also makes sure Elvis knows never to touch or play with matches or lighters.
"We have a firefighter that’s going to make sure everything‘s OK so we’re pretty set. We’re alright,” Rainey said.
More tips from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:
You can also purchase glow sticks, bracelets and even glow-in-the-dark balls to light up the night without any sparks.