Birthday parties can be a big event for people of any age. However, usually the most extravagant celebrations are for children. You really don’t have to worry when you’re just using paper hats and confetti at your event. However, there are different concerns when using items like birthday cake sparklers at your party. So, what age is appropriate for birthday sparklers? Are there any ages that are simply off limits? Here is a quick guide to help you determine if you can do it safely.
The Type You Choose Determines What Age is Appropriate for Birthday Sparklers
The biggest factor in determining whether sparklers are age appropriate for your birthday party is how they will be used. For instance, handheld options may not be right for small children, but putting sparklers on their cake would be just fine. Here is a breakdown of the main types and what age ramifications to take into consideration.
Traditional “Stick” Sparklers for Birthdays
By and large, the most common type of sparklers that people purchase is in the traditional “stick” format. These are the type that you normally see on holidays like the 4th of July, and they are the most readily available. However, they are simply too dangerous to give to anyone under 5 years old; regardless of your level of supervision. If you want to hand out sparklers at a birthday as party favors, keep it to children over the age of 7 for the best results.
Cake sparklers are the most forgiving of all combustible versions because they can be enjoyed from a distance. When you have small children, they shouldn’t be allowed to participate directly. However, since you can keep infants in some sort of high chair and restrain other age groups accordingly, this type can be used with almost any child. However, very small babies have eyes that are sensitive to extreme light. They should be okay by their first birthday, but earlier is not advised. Just make sure they aren’t too close to the flames if you plan to use them around very small infants.
Overall, avoiding open flames makes for the safest experience possible. When you’re determining what age is appropriate for birthday sparklers, LED versions are not something you need to worry about. Most commonly, they are used as inexpensive birthday decorations. However, they are essentially little wands that you can hold in your hand and wave around without issues. Obviously, small children still need to be supervised so they don’t use them to whack their sister in the head. Fortunately, though, the risk of being burned or blinded by the brightness is not something that you need to factor into the mix.
Can You Be Too Young?
When breaking down all the various age groups, the most important limitation to consider is if a child is too young. As I mentioned before, you should never allow children under the age of 5 to use traditional “stick” versions in any capacity; and preferably not until they are at least 7 years old. Furthermore, the intense light they create can be hazardous to the eyes of very small children. In my opinion, you shouldn’t even put them on a cake until at least their 2nd birthday. However, if you go with an LED option, they are safe for any age; even as young as 6 months old.
Can You Be Too Old?
Similar to potentially being too young, there is some risk if the guest of honor is too old. Once a person reaches a certain stage in their elder years, holding onto items can prove difficult. Additionally, the bright light may be overwhelming to someone cataracts or other debilitating eye conditions. Lastly, you never want to use them as part of “surprise” scenario because their heart may not be able to take the excitement. It may sound silly that a fully grown adult would be prohibited from certain sparkler activities. However, if you want them to stick around until their next birthday, you should use some good common sense.
Overall, determining what age is appropriate for sparklers at birthdays should be an obvious decision. If your children can’t be left unattended with a dinner fork, they can’t be trusted to hold one; even with direct supervision. The most dangerous part of the process is figuring out how to light sparklers when kids are involved. If you can do that part successfully, then they probably are old enough and responsible enough to enjoy this type of activity. Good luck and I hope your party planning goes smoothly!