Well it's Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes' Night if that's what you prefer to call it, and all over the country kids will be given sparklers.
Once upon a time I saw sparklers as an innocent type of firework that the kids loved to hold and swirl around, making pretty light patterns in the dark. I did it when I was little and so did all of my friends so it was natural that I let my own kids have them.
One New Year‘s Eve, when LM was about 4, we all gathered outside in the deep snow (this was in Norway) to send up our rockets and as usual, I had a pack of sparklers for the children. I gave them one each, lit them and turned my back for a few moments because a neighbour had called out Happy New Year.
Suddenly Lise is tugging at me, telling me that LM’s on fire. I turned around and there she stood, sparkler still in her hand, with her mitten on fire. A mitten that was surrounding her hand! I immediately pushed her hand into the snow, extinguishing the fire and, using the torch we had with us, examined the damage. Luckily, she was wearing padded mittens and the flames hadn’t managed to get right through to her skin, but another few seconds and who knows what the results might have been. And I hate to even think about what would have happened had the sleeve of her snowsuit caught fire!
Sparklers are DANGEROUS! They reach a heat of around 2000 degrees. Considering water boils at 100 degrees, it doesn’t take much imagination to understand just how hot that is! It’s hot enough to melt iron!
If you're celebrating tonight, do enjoy yourself but please, please be careful if you’re giving your children sparklers. It really does only take a moment for a spark to turn into a tragedy. LM was lucky, but it could so easily have been different.