NJ should keep its ban on fireworks, even sparklers
Arriving on the governor's desk is a lousy piece of legislation born, in my opinion, of a cash starved state government desperate for any tax money it can find. Under this legislation, certain fireworks would be made legal for sale in the Garden State. Things that don't go airborne and don't explode, such as poppers, snakes, and sparklers, would be legal for those aged 16 on up to sell, store, possess, and use.
The problem? It won't stay in the hands of people 16 on up. People 16 on up have no interest in these kinds of fireworks except to hand to their little kids. They want the big stuff. Why is that a problem? Because people fail to see the dangers of a small child holding a sparkler. Did you know that a sparkler burns as hot as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit? That's as hot as an air acetylene torch. Would you hand your 5 year old an acetylene torch to play with? Sparklers are responsible for 16% of all fireworks injuries. They can, and have, set clothing on fire. Would you let your 5 year old stand in the yard and play with matches?
I remember one end of summer when my children came home from Florida at 7 and 5 years old with serious blistered burns on their hands. They were given sparklers to play with and it slipped in my son's fingers and caused the injury. The following day they were allowed to play with them again, and my 5 year old daughter received the same type of burn. I had to bring them for their annual physical as school started that year and the pediatrician asked them about the blisters. When they told them they were given sparklers to play with the doctor got very serious and sat them down and sternly asked them to never play with them again until they were much older. He went on to talk about how many children are seriously injured every year from these seemingly harmless sparklers. Then he told a personal story of how a little boy who was a patient of his was disfigured to this day because he had been given a sparkler to play with at 6 years old and it caught his pants then shoe on fire. The shoe severely burned his foot and melted into it. He almost had to have his foot amputated, and to this day he has trouble walking properly and is disfigured from the incident.
State Sen. Nick Scutari who sponsored this legislation cites economic reasons for allowing these in Jersey. “Lots and lots of people buy stuff in Pennsylvania and bring it over anyway — might as well let our economy have a little bit of a jump." More likely let the government coffers have a little extra tax money is what I'm thinking. Which is all probably a moot point. People who are into fireworks will still travel to Pennsylvania to buy the big stuff anyway, and while there they will purchase the sparklers and little stuff so New Jersey isn't likely to get that much money.
I find the whole thing misguided, but I'm sure I'm in the minority. Let's find out. Take our survey below.