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Wednesday, October 28, 1998 Published at 10:24 GMT


Sparkler safety alert

Last year about 250 serious injuries were caused by sparklers

In the run-up to Guy Fawkes night, the government is launching a campaign to warn children and parents about the dangers of sparklers.

BBC Correspondent Denise Mahoney: Sparklers look the least harmful but cause the most injuries
Nearly a quarter of all fireworks accidents last year involved sparklers, which have traditionally been regarded as relatively safe.

Consumer affairs minister Dr Kim Howells said parents should realise that sparklers burn at very high temperatures.

He said: "They burn at incredibly high temperatures - five times hotter than a barbecue, and parents have got to understand that."

Of the 100 million fireworks that will be sold this year, sparklers are expected to be a best seller.

[ image: Retailers expect to sell 100 million fireworks this year]
Retailers expect to sell 100 million fireworks this year
Last year, tough new measures, including banning the sale of fireworks to under 18s, managed to cut injury rates by 26%.

But the government was disappointed that about 250 serious accidents were the result.

Parents are being urged to adopt a strict safety code when allowing children to use sparklers on 5 November, Guy Fawkes night.

  • Never allow children under five-years-old to hold sparklers.

  • Always supervise children over that age when they are using sparklers.

  • Sparklers should always be held at arms' length.

  • Sparklers remain extremely hot long after they have stopped glowing. They should always be disposed of in a bucket of water or sand.

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