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Lighters That Look Like Toys Can Kill

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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.

no toy lighters

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.

next: Gunmen Abduct 3-Year-Old from Calif. Home
9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sherry(the real one..haha) May 4, 2009, 9:53 AM

My uncle had a gf that shot someone with a lighter resembling a gun…while they are at it I hope they ban Ed Hardy lighters and anything else ed farty

birdsfly May 4, 2009, 11:01 AM

keep things out of reach of your kids. Seriously.

John May 4, 2009, 12:56 PM

So here we go again, lets ban stuff right? NO!!!! here is a idea, Parents stop blaming other people for your mistakes… If a kid gets a lighter and gets hurt,lets blame the parents for being to stupid for either have stuff like that in your home or for not putting it up. So America is this what we do now Blame, Blame, Blame? soon all of our rights we be gone then who do you blame? YOURSELF thats who. “Please govt help us protect our kids” Ban stuff, take away our rights please….just like my hand gun, the gun doesnt kill people kill and if my kids get hurt or even kill another kid for playing with it, who do I Blame? the gun maker?? NO, NO, NO!!!, I AM THE ONE TO BLAME FOR NOT HAVING STORED PROPERLY!!! MY FAULT, I GO TO JAIL. Soon the govt will make us all use plastic knives and forks so kids dont get hurt….

Michael May 4, 2009, 7:57 PM

Thank you John!!

I agree 100%. Our legislators have way too much time on their hands (and taxpayer money in their pockets) to waste on idiotic ban bills like this. MOST responsible stores know NOT to sell lighters to minors. Most retailers I see also keep the novelty lighters in special cases not accesible to the consumer. Those retailers that keep the lighter displays at the register out in the open should consider keeping away from “small hands”. So where are the kids getting these lighters from anyway? More often the case, they find them at home. Therefore, blame the parents, not the stores, not the lighter manufactures. Simply put, if you have kids in your house, make sure that they are supervised and cannot get into ANYTHING they shouldn’t. Our Government needs to worry about fixing our economy, and NOT taking away what little rights we have left.

Rachel May 5, 2009, 6:54 PM

I agree with John…how about the parents don’t buy this sh$t in the first place?!? And if they absolutely MUST have it, why not keep it out of reach of the kids?!

Karla Jones November 27, 2009, 1:41 PM

Braydon and Payton, were my nephews. I am glad that they have banned these lighter. I wished we had more time with them. They are very loved and we all miss them very much.

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