Unsafe Lighters

Every year fires caused by lighters kill dozens of people.
Most of the victims are children. Consumer Reports has a warning about some newer lighters that are especially enticing to kids.

Tegan, a five year old says, "I wanted to know how a lighter worked, and it took me like one time to just light it."

That one time resulted in Tegan getting badly burned when he was five years old. He has to have surgeries and skin grafts until he's an adult.

Tegan's mother says, "It's something that I would have never imagined to happen."

Tegan was injured with a lighter used to start grills. There are other lighters widely available that are even more tempting to children. Consumer Reports says they look a lot like toys.

They're called novelty lighters.

Urvashi Rangan with Consumer Reports says,"Even the Lighter Association, the industry trade group for traditional lighters, has called for a nationwide ban on the sale and distribution of novelty lighters. Yet they're available for sale in most states, as well as online."

Most lighters, including novelty lighters, are required by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to have some kind of "mechanism that … makes the lighter child-resistant." But that doesn't mean lighters are childproof.

In fact, Tegan's mother says the lighter he was playing with had a safety catch, but it didn't keep him from getting badly burned.

Urvashi cautions, "You need to store lighters and matches out of children's reach. And never underestimate their curiosity about fire or ability to use a lighter."

California, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, and Wyoming are among the states which have banned novelty lighters.


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