Can Your Toddler Handle Fireworks?

Many new parents in the United States have big ideas about sharing the 4th of July with their little one who is finally able to participate in the festivities. Swimming, grilling, and dressing them up in thematically patriotic clothes is definitely on the agenda, but when it comes to the evening's fireworks extravaganza, what are appropriate parameters? Is it safe for toddlers to use fireworks, or do they have to miss out on the most exciting part of the day?

According to the experts at the Burn Center for Children in Philadelphia's St. Christopher's Hospital, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that an average of 230 people head to the emergency room every day around the 4th of July with fireworks-related injuries. In an interview with Romper, a St. Christopher's Hospital representative says the safest choice is always to look for a community-sponsored fireworks display in your area. If you are determined to set off your own, he recommends that only adults should handle the fireworks, and children should be given sparklers instead.

But at what age are even sparklers safe? Molly Grinstead, Children's Health Injury Prevention Program Coordinator at Children's Health Dallas, warns that little arms are simply too short to safely hold sparklers, which can heat up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Speaking with Romper, Grinstead suggests that toddlers instead be given glow sticks to play with during the fireworks display. They can be just as fun, especially for very young children, and parents can breathe easy knowing their little ones are protected.

But why not go straight to the source? Romper reached out to retailer Phantom Fireworks for their recommendations. Phantom CEO Bruce Zolden tells Romper it is not safe for toddlers or any children to handle fireworks, and that they are only intended for use by responsible and (ahem) sober adults. In fact, Zolden says the Phantom guidelines for children participating in fireworks activities are, "A minimum clear radius of 30 feet for fountains and other ground-based items and 140 feet for any aerial product."

Toddlers can and should take part in all the fun 4th of July festivities, but there is plenty for them to do without actually handling fireworks. In the future, there will come a time when they're old enough for sparklers, but for now you'd better resign yourself to popping those glow sticks.