They are sold in most convenience stores and gas stations—lighters that look like toys but can be dangerous.
One state lawmaker wants them banned. State Rep. Randy Frye said the case of Tegan Ferguson speaks for itself.
In May, 5-year-old Tegan was playing with a lighter.
“I just felt like it wouldn’t burn me,” the boy said.
He snuck off to the bathroom to try it out, away from the watchful eye of his parents. One click of the lighter is all it took for Tegan’s life to change.
“I put it right here and I lit it up and it was black and it came up really fast and got to here,” he said.
Severe burns left lasting scars on the boy.
“To me this is a no-brainer,” said Frye, who’s behind a bill that would outlaw toy-like lighters. “These have no purpose. All this is…is a way for people to get hurt.”
Frye doesn’t want to see what happened to Tegan happen to anyone else.
“We want to outlaw them, we want to ban them,” he said.
Frye actually tried to get toy-like lighters banned last year. His bill made it out of the House, but was never heard in the Senate. Frye is proposing the exact same bill in this year’s session, confident it will get a better reception.
He said last year’s short session did not help the bill. He hopes a full session will allow time for lawmakers to discuss it. Frye pointed out that if the lighter association is calling for a ban on lighters, state lawmakers should feel the same way.
“Sometimes you come back and try again, so this year we hope to get a hearing,” he said.
The retired Indianapolis firefighter said he has seen too many cases like Tegan’s where the lives of loved ones hang in the balance.
“I did not know whether I would lose him,” said Amber Ferguson, the boy’s mother.
Frye wants those lighters taken out of the hands of children.
“A little 3-year-old (or) 4-year-old is not going to be able to tell the difference and I do not want to see one more child hurt,” Frye said.