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Sometimes a simple lighter can look anything but.

Novelty lighters, which look almost identical to toys and trinkets, are easily accessed at convenience stores and hardware stores. Firemen’s Association of the State of New York President Jim Burns says kids may think the lighter is a toy which could lead to a dangerous situation.

“There are a number of instances across the country" Burns said, "where children have gotten their hands on these types of devices and started fires and burned down their homes. In one case, the child was lost in the fire.”

In 2007, two toddlers, 15-month-old Peyton Edwards and 2-year-old Breydon Edwards of Russellville, Ark., died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter.

Burns says novelty lighters can look like anything from a cellphone to a tractor to ironically, even a fire hydrant. No statistics are kept on the number of fires directly attributable to novelty lighters, but Burns wants to get the message out nonetheless that these should not be in the hands of children.

“The message to parents, first of all, is keep these away from your children," Burns said. "Most importantly, just don’t buy them and bring them into your home. To the manufacturers: this is just a travesty that they’re manufacturing these things that are attractive to young children."

Currently, 15 states have passed statutes that either totally ban novelty lighters or allow county and local jurisdictions to pass a ban.

"They’re dangerous in the home. People are injuring themselves and killing themselves with fire.”

(Picture courtesy of the Firemen's Assoc. of the State of New York website)

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