Monday, July 5, 2010


They're just not as intimidating as they used to be, these new wooden sparklers. Part of the appeal of the old school metal ones was their potential for serious harm. The scent alone triggered a primal warning response, signaling to children everywhere that those puppies could hurt. Bad.


Loud overhead fireworks? Bring 'em on. Pagoda driveway explosion? Sign me up. Uncontrollable spinning "flowers?" Okay, now we're beginning to talk danger. But none of those pyrotechnics posed anywhere near the corporeal threat that came with the annual attempt to run a complete circuit around the house with a lit sparkler.


The trip around the exterior of the house involved many dangers, holding on to those poorly designed, precariously short metal handles. This new wood style has a good ten inches to grasp. Where's the peril in that? And the sparks on the new ones all shoot out the front; no little flames darting back toward the hand that holds it.


I'll tell you what's perilous — trying to keep my fingers and hair from catching on fire while simultaneously trying to avoid running on the sizzling hot discarded metal rods, blending dangerously into the grass and dirt. As kids, we didn't get these nice red wooden sticks that are clearly visible and leave nothing behind but a few tiny embers. (Which, we learned the hard way, still do hurt when stepped on. Still — it beats a searing two inch long burn!)


No, perhaps the real danger in these new sparklers is that they are a little too comforting; a little too safe. I saw the kids handling these in a way that no right-minded child would have done with one of the scary old metal sparklers. I guess children will always find a way to scare themselves (and their parents) on the fourth of July, no matter what the medium.


Katherine said...

Well, I thought about getting the wooden ones, but without the danger factor, you've completely talked me out of it.

We actually do have the old fashioned metal ones, but we've enacted so many rules around them that I'm not sure how fun it is (no waving at another person, wires must be deposited in bucket with water, etc.) It's much better to just let them have at it and figure out the danger on their own. :)

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

You know... I don't get it. What's with all the safety crap. I saw a thing on Good Morning America how playgrounds are SOOOO dangerous now and the good old wings and slides you and I played on are horrible death traps.

same thing...What's wrong with those good old metal sparklers? We turned out fine and probably have a higher respect for fire.

God I sound like I'm 60. haha

Our Crazy Crew said...

I love her face in the first picture. I always laugh when my kids act like me or my hubby. Is that a mommy mirror? :)

Sweet Peach said...

My fireman husband came home with so many fireworks he needed help to unload them. In the mix were both the old school metal sparklers, and some huge 3 foot long monster sparklers. The big ones were so fun, we even had my great-aunt and grandpa out there swinging them around. And we only had ONE near-grass-fire from the old school kind :-)

M @ Betty Crapper said...

wow, It's been too long since I held a sparkler. I didn't even know they had a new kind out. I guess as my baby grows I'll be learning all about them.

M @ Betty Crapper said...

p.s. I've given you an award. Come and get it.

Kristy said...

I have never held a sparkler. I'm a wimp like that.

jadenotjaded said...

Every year I give my kids those new sparklers, but I still miss those old ones! They seemed to last forever - these new ones are out in 10 sec tops!

Fire Wife Katie said...

Katherine - we never had buckets of water, that's a great idea!

Jen - it's a miracle we survived those death trap swings. Lol!

Our Crazy Crew, definitely a mommy mirror. I was always very cautious as a child... still am! Drives my husband crazy!

Sweet Peach, at the last department my husband worked for, the police showed up on the 4th with all of the confiscated fireworks and the guys on duty helped "dispose" of them. :D

M - Thank you! :D

Kristy - Never? Wow!

Jaden, the other problem is that half of the new ones would die part way through, then re-ignite suddenly. I'm amazed no one's hair caught on fire!!

Jessica said...

I had no idea they even made those ..?!

Cristina said...

I probably shouldn't confess this to the wife of a firefighter, but... 4th of July around here is an excuse to light anything on fire with fireworks. Sparklers or no, if we can light it, we do! We save our gingerbread house from Christmas and use it for our grand finale with sparklers set up all around it :)

Cristina said...

Of course, we do this very, very safely.

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