Massachusetts sparkler ban controversial, often ignored

Despite the fact that sparklers are banned in Massachusetts, many residents travel across state lines before the Fourth of July holiday to purchase sparklers. Massachusetts is one of only two states to ban sparklers, which are popular among children during summer celebrations.

One Massachusetts politician has spoken out against the sparkler ban, calling it “anti-American” and an overreach of government power. However, sparklers burn at a scorching 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause major burn injuries to hands, eyes, faces, and other body parts that come in contact with it.

Amidst the criticism of the ban and the public apathy towards the danger of sparklers, the Holliston Fire Chief reminds residents that the risks of playing with sparklers are very real.

Nationwide, about 9,600 people are treated for injuries from fireworks each year, many around the Fourth of July holiday. Eighteen percent of those injuries involved sparklers.

For parents or property owners who allow kids to play with sparklers on the Fourth of July, it’s important to be aware that this illegal activity could lead to civil liability for any injuries. Property owners have a duty to keep the area free of hazards that present a foreseeable risk to visitors, or to warn them of known hazards. Adults who are supervising a group of children are also responsible for keeping hazards out of the way, and that includes small explosives such as sparklers.

The sparkler ban may not be a popular law, but safety officials urge Massachusetts residents to leave the firework displays to professionals.

Source: CBS News, “Sparkler ban ‘anti-American,’ says Mass. State rep candidate,” July 3, 2012.