Across the country, legislators are trying to "light a fire under" retailers to ban the sale of lighters that look so much like toys, even some adults are fooled.
Telling a child not to play with matches is one thing. Telling him not to play with a colorful frog or Santa that sings Christmas tunes is quite another. Across the nation, novelty lighters that closely resemble harmless toys have been responsible for injuries and accidents and even death. According to the No Novelty Lighter Coalition:
- On September 25, 2007, 15-month-old Peyton Edwards and 2-year-old Breydon Edwards of Russellville, Arkansas, died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter.
- In North Carolina, a 6-year-old boy sustained second-degree burns after playing with a
lighter that looked like a toy cell phone.
- In Maryland, playground equipment was set on fire by three 5-year-old girls using a gun- shaped lighter.
- In Oregon, one child died and another was permanently brain-damaged after a 6-year-old, playing with a lighter that looked like a toy dolphin, started a fire.
- A mother was severely burned after her child, playing with a lighter that resembled a Christmas tree, ignited the mother's bed.
So far, only a few U.S. cities have called for a ban of these lighters, but momentum has been growing as national Arson Awareness Week begins.
Last week, according to the Orlando Sentinel, a bill was introduced by State Rep. Scott Plakon to ban the sales of the offending lighters because "they look like Happy Meal toys, but they can burn your house down." According to the bill, any lighter that looks like a "cartoon character, animal, toy, gun, watch, musical instrument, vehicle, food, beverage" or "that plays sounds or musical notes or displays flashing lights or other visual effects" would be banned. Shops that were caught selling the lighters would face a fine.
The Sun News reported South Carolina Sen. Thomas Alexander made his point when he introduced the ban by doing his own demonstration with a lighter that resembled a camera, almost singing his eyebrows.
"All of these resemble toys, and, in the hands of a child, these toy-like lighters can be deadly," Alexander said.
But aren't all lighters supposed to be childproof? Contrary to popular belief, all lighters are NOT childproof. Lighters manufactured or imported after July 1994 are required to be child resistant. But according to a rep from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, "It's almost impossible to regulate safety regulations when most novelty lighters are imported."
Check out the novelty lighter PSA from the ideabank.