Growing up, I used sparklers almost every summer as a kid. Supervision was definitely not very thorough, yet I still managed to escape childhood without any serious injuries. However, not every kid was as fortunate as I was. Sadly, I all too often hear horror stories about what happens when you give a 3 year old a lit sparkler. Remember, sparklers produce extremely high temperatures so you need to be very careful. So what age is appropriate for sparklers in reality? What is the line between being a “fun parent” and being completely irresponsible?
Generally speaking, 7 years old is the earliest you should allow your kids to use sparklers. However, there are a lot of factors to consider before just handing them over to your kids! Here is what you need to know if you’re wondering if your kids are old enough to enjoy sparklers at your party or event.
What Age is Appropriate for Sparklers at Certain Types of Events?
Depending on how and when you plan to use them, there are different guidelines. Sometimes it’s because supervision is harder to pull off, and sometimes people are just crammed too closely together to be safe. Here are some common situations and what age is appropriate for sparklers in those scenarios.
4th of July
By and large, the vast majority of people who use our products will do so on the 4th of July. When I was a kid, this was the only time I got to use them all year long. However, we only had a few kids doing them in our backyard, so supervision wasn’t very complicated. If you can keep your eyes on all the kids, 7 years old is usually an appropriate age. However, if there is a lot of chaos and you can’t provide your undivided attention, I suggest waiting until they are 12 years old.
A lot of people use sparklers as part of their wedding exit instead of confetti or birdseed. Additionally, a lot of weddings are kid-friendly. However, balancing those two factors is extremely challenging because there are so many guests in attendance. In my experience, sparklers for weddings should be reserved for adults only. There are simply too many people crammed together for children to behave safely. I suggest limiting their use to people over 16 years of age to have a happy and safe celebration.
It’s not quite as common to use them at birthdays, but there are a lot of fun things you can do. Similar to the 4th of July, it all really comes down to supervision. If you have a lot of kids running around, handing them to 7 year olds is probably not smart. Instead, you could consider having an adult hold them so the children can see a cool show without touching. If you do hand them out, I suggest 12 years old as the minimum age for this type of occasion.
Holidays and Events
Lastly, a lot of people enjoy using sparklers for holidays and events to make it a better experience. Whether its Christmas morning or you’re celebrating someone’s graduation, you can find all sorts of fun uses for them in any scenario. However, you need to make sure you’re prepared ahead of time before handing them out to kids! Sadly, it’s human nature to focus on the celebration instead of paying attention to the small children that are running around. For this reason, I urge you to save them for kids 12 and up to avoid any unwanted consequences.
What Age is Appropriate for Lighting Sparklers?
The process of lighting our products is probably the most dangerous time during their use. Even with close supervision, one little slip can mean a pretty serious burn. Even if you use something like a grill lighter to keep hands far away from the tips, it’s still a fairly risky proposition. For this reason, I suggest limiting the lighting process to kids over 16 years old. Ideally, you’ll want to use something like sparkler torches because the lighter will cool down instantly. No matter what ignition source you decide on, supervision is incredibly important to avoid any unwanted mishaps.
Safest Types of Sparklers for Young Children
There are many types of sparklers available on the market, but some are better suited for children than others. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, but some products are just plain dangerous for kids. For instance, you should never use sparklers that are made from wood like bamboo. Additionally, anything under 7 is not an age appropriate for sparklers. Nevertheless, here are the safest options you have to enjoy them with your family.
Believe it or not, short sparklers are actually among the safest options for children. While there are merits to extremely long ones, medium sizes are actually the most dangerous. If they are a little long, it builds confidence and carelessness; which can ultimately lead to problems! However, short versions are typically kept “close to the vest” and kids tend to be less careless. If you look at the science, short sparklers are actually one of the safest choices out there.
Conversely, there are some merits to be had for the opposite end of the spectrum. By choosing a longer version, your children can keep the action further away from their bodies. Overall, 36 inch sparklers are the longest in the world and are usually easy to come by. Additionally, their long metal handles make it easy to stick into the ground for kids under 7. Even if they can’t hold them in their hands, they can still enjoy the show from a safe distance.
Alternatives to Sparklers that are More Age Appropriate
When you have kids under age 7, sparklers are simply not age appropriate. Obviously, you could do them in from of the children or stick them in the ground, but this could end up just being a tease. Instead, many people prefer to find alternatives that emulate the fun while eliminating the risk. Here are a few of my favorite stand-ins.
Bubbles are just as interactive as the products we sell, but they can be used by any age group. You can hand a bottle of bubble juice to anyone and watch the fun ensue! Best of all, you can easily make more bubble solution at home with just water and dish soap. Overall, they are the easiest and safest alternative out there; particularly for very small children.
Ribbon wands aren’t only a great alternative to our products, but they can also be a fun family activity! Your kids will love crafting their very own ribbon wands, and they are just as interactive as handling sparklers. However, since they are made with a stick, there can still be injury risks with very young children. Make sure you supervise closely when using ribbon wands in your backyard.
Confetti is one of the easiest to find and most abundant party accessories in the world. Whether you are at a party supply shop or a grocery store, chances are you can find confetti on their shelves. Additionally, you can make confetti at home if you want a fun activity and to save money. Best of all, it’s 100% safe for any age group and you can use them at parties, holidays, and even weddings.
Lastly, we have a wonderful alternative available right here on our website in the form of LED wedding sparklers. Though they are sold specifically for weddings, they can actually be used in almost any scenario. For instance, you can old them in your hand, put them on a cake, or even attach them to bottles. Unlike traditional sparklers, there is not open flame or sparks created during the performance. Best of all, they are reusable and you can swap out the batteries; so you can continue using them for many years to come!
Can Babies Look at Sparklers Safely?
One of the most pressing questions I regularly receive is whether or not it’s safe for babies to look at sparklers. Obviously, you wouldn’t hand one to a toddler; but is it safe for their eyes to see something so bright? Fortunately, it is completely safe for babies to look at sparklers as long as they are at least 5 feet away. The brightness is not the factor; it’s the sparks that they produce. As long as you keep your baby or toddler at a safe distance, they can enjoy the show just like their bigger siblings.
In the end, you need to use your own judgment when determining what age is appropriate for sparklers. The “professionals” agree that 7 years old is the earliest you should consider it. However, not every 7 year old is mature enough to be trusted with them. Always make sure you are practicing safety when using sparklers with children to prevent injuries. As long as you are doing your job correctly, you can have a safe and exciting experience with the whole family. Enjoy!