As many of us are currently aware of, the world today can be a very dangerous and scary place. There are many things around the home that are dangerous to children in particular. Knives, chemicals, and heavy objects falling on you are just some examples. One of the things in the home that I believe is not looked at more often is fire. Fire can be very dangerous, especially if used improperly in the home. Fire has it’s benefits, but it seems to have more negative impacts than positive ones. Unfortunately, it can be very devastating and heartbreaking when someone loses a loved one as a result of afire. “On September 25, 2007, 15-month-old Peyton Edwards and 2-year-old Breydon Edwards of Russelville ,Arkansas, died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter” (USFA par.3). Those who are parents with young children like to think that our children our safe and sound when we are home, but in most cases that is not true. The truth is that something like this situation could have been avoided if there was no toy-shaped lighter in the first place to begin with. Then these two children would still be alive and not in boxes six feet under.
Lately it has come to the attention of multiple people and organized groups that lighters that look like toys should be banned from the United States in order to protect children from injury, property damage, and even death. To my dismay, I found out that this worse than what I had originally thought. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoking paraphernalia is the leading cause of house deaths and injuries (NFPA par. 1). There are more incidents of children starting fires in homes in the United States every year. The only logical thing to do in this situation would be to ban cigarette lighters that look like toys so that adults would not be able to get their hands on them right? This would prevent adults who smoke from purchasing these lighters and then the incidents of children getting a hold of these lighters and setting things on fire would drop drastically. I wish that this solution would be as simple as that. Unfortunately , in this country, many people do not think that the government should intervene and instead it should be up to the parents to make sure that these lighters are put away safely.
The reason why all of this legislation is being put forward is simply for the protection of children in the United States. The truth that we and all adults have to face is that children love to play and they will play with almost anything that looks like a toy to them. Children, especially young children, cannot tell the difference between a toy-like lighter and a regular plastic toy. Sometimes these lighters look so much like plastic toys that sometimes it is almost impossible for adults to tell these lighters apart from toys either. The president of the National Association of State Fire Marshals showed an example of a toy-like lighter to the senate. “They look like something you would get in a McDonald’s Happy Meal,” said John Dean, president of the National Association of State Fire Marshals, who often shows off the device (qtd. in Lorentzen par.2). What I’m getting at is that there are many things that can look like toys. Lighters should not look like toys period. This is very dangerous and obviously has negative consequences if a situation like a fire should occur as a result of a child playing with one of these lighters should happen. If a United States senator cannot even tell the difference between a novelty lighter and a toy, then how can we expect children to do so? It only makes sense to ban lighters that look like toys to prevent this from happening.
More and more people die in the United States from accidentally setting something aflame than one might think. I think that this is a very serious problem in this country. We all know that not all adults are responsible. Adults make mistakes and so does every human being. Not all parents who smoke and own novelty lighters can be trusted to simply put their lighters out of the way of their children. Peyton and Breydon Edwards would still be alive today if their mother just took the time to make sure that her lighter was put away in a safe and secure place. It should be expected of parents to be responsible enough make sure that their children are safe not just from novelty lighters, but also all lighters in general. More and more fires are being started from children playing with lighters in the home and accidentally injuring or killing themselves. Children love playing with toys, but what could start out as fun play time could end in disaster.
Lorentzen Amy. “Ban Sought on Novelty Lighters.” USAToday. The Associated Press. 12 Feb. 2008. Web. 9 Feb 2014.
The National Fire Prevention Association. Seven People Die Each Day In Reported U.S. Home Fires: NFPA Releases New Report On Home Fire Statistics. 23 April
The United States Fire Administration, National Arson Awareness Week: Toylike Lighters: Playing With Fire/ Media Kit, April 2008, PDF file.