Lawmaker calls for ban on “toy-like” lighters

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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.


  • Clayton

    So, um, my kids starting at age 3 tell me about a lighter if they find them if my wife doesn't put them up after burning the trash. How is this a lighter manufacturer issue not a parenting issue? If somebody wants to make a lighter that looks like a gun (the only remotely "toy" lighter I have seen) they should be able to, and if I wish to buy it, I should be able to. If you have kids that aren't trained or properly supervised, then the parent should be smart enough to not buy a "toy" lighter or keep it put of if they want it. I fail to see how this is an inanimate objects fault not the parents.

  • MeatPlow

    Could be a quality control issue?
    Legislation should put forth requiring background checks and a limit to ignitions and flame height, and a portion of the profit goes to some government established lighter safety program. And in that bill there needs to be a public pool addition in a congressman's home town.

    the government is doing what it thinks is necessary to keep their sheep alive and voting.

    • Clayton

      Even better, lighter locks that go though the fuel despising nozzle, with a fingerprint recognizing depressor or a RF bracelet that only allows the purchaser to ignite the lighter.

  • RedStateVet

    The nanny State at its finest. Tegans parents are at fault here. We don't need new laws here, we need responsible parents.

    • Dennis Wall

      Good parenting? Why bother being a good parent when Nanny will do it for you. Surely a new law will fix things up…

  • Guest

    I know this family and it is not the parents fault. The lighter was and always had been kept in safe place.
    As Clayton stated above, his children started at an early age telling him if they found a lighter. The same went for Tegan, except for this one time. His curiosity got to him.
    At Tegan's grandparents, the lighter was placed with camping equipment that was getting loaded up for a camping trip. The lighter was to be used for starting a campfire. Tegan picked it out of the camp basket on his way to the restroom.
    This story was made to be shared with children to educate them about the dangers of playing with a lighter. This lighter was not a novelty lighter, but they used this story to show the affects of what could happen to a child if he chose to play with a lighter. Novelty lighters are eye catching to children!

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