Sparklers cause 5-year-old boy to suffer third degree burns

Seth Jr. was playing with a sparkler when his T-shirt caught on fire

By Sandra Ali - Anchor/Reporter

DETROIT - A change in Michigan law has allowed the sale of more powerful fireworks this year, but even the simple kind of fireworks, like sparklers, can pose risks to families and children.

The Miller family has learned just how dangerous fireworks can be.  Seth Miller and his wife Amber were married on the fourth of July, but there won't be any celebrating this year.

Instead, the couple will be spending their anniversary at the University of Michigan Burn Unit.

"Honestly, I didn't know sparklers were that dangerous," says Miller. "When I was a kid, I used to play with them.  All my friend, we'd play with sparklers, having fun and I just never thought anything like that could happen."

Last Sunday, their 5-year-old son Seth Jr. was playing with a sparkler when his T-shirt caught on fire.

"Our neighbor had given our son a sparkler, she was lending them, or giving them to all of the children in the neighborhood without our permission," says Miller. "We didn't know what was going on until we saw him on fire."

The Millers quickly rushed to the hospital.

"We just spring into action, I mean what do you do, you son's burning?  You don't really think, you just do," says Amber. "That's what we did, we just took care of the situation as fast as we could."

Doctors told the Millers Seth has suffered third degree burns.

"Seth came into the hospital after he sustained burs when his t-shirt caught on fire while he was playing with a sparkler," says Dr. Stewart C. Wang, Director of Burn Center at U of M Hospital.  "Most people don't know, but sparklers burn really hot, between 2,000 to 3,000 degrees."

Doctors had to rush Seth into surgery.

"He required surgery to shave off all the burn wounds," says Dr. Wang. "Then we transplanted skin from his leg up to that area to try to promote healing and to prevent contractures, to minimize the scarring."

Now, nearly a week later, Seth is on the road to recovery.  His parents have a message for other moms and dads this holiday weekend:

"Definitely just make sure there's a responsible adult," says Amber. "Just know where your children are and know what they're doing at all times, because anything is possible."

Many police say the best approach to fireworks is to leave them to professionals and enjoy the show.

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