San Antonio teen injured when sparklers ‘exploded’ in his hand warns others about dangers of fireworks

Sparklers can reach 2,000° F which is hotter than a blow torch

On January 1, 2019, 13-year old Aidan Arriaga decided to take the 70-sparkler challenge. It was something he saw promoted online. (University Health)

SAN ANTONIO – One San Antonio family is teaming up with local health officials to remind holiday revelers to be safe ahead of the kickoff to firework sales in Bexar County.

Fireworks go on sale Sunday but this year there is a ban on the sale and use of certain fireworks like “skyrockets with sticks” and “missiles with fins,” as classified under state law. Read more on that here.

Sparklers, however, are still approved for use and most people consider them to be safe.

Aidan Arriaga, 13, is more familiar with these than most after deciding to take a 70-sparkler challenge two years ago.

On January 1, 2019, Aidan lit a bundle of 70 sparklers expecting a holiday display worthy of social media but instead, the sparklers exploded in his hand. He was treated at University Hospital’s Trauma Center, spent several days in the hospital and had severe burns that took a long time to heal.

Now, Aidan and his mother April Tejada, are joining with the University Health Trauma Center’s pediatric burn unit to warn families about the dangers to children when fireworks are misused.

Officials with University Health said they are anticipating more families buying their own fireworks this year due to “many public fireworks displays [being] canceled” with the coronavirus pandemic.

University Health officials suggested some safer options instead of fireworks including glow sticks, confetti poppers and colored streamers.

The American Burn Association (ABA) warns families not to alter, modify or relight fireworks and not to allow children to pick up what may appear to be spent fireworks as some might still be active.

Sparklers can reach 2,000° F which is hotter than a blow torch, according to the ABA.

If a burn does occur due to a firework the ABA suggests:

  1. Cooling the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process
  2. Removing all clothing and jewelry from the injured area
  3. Covering the area with a dry clean sheet or loose bandages
  4. Seek medical attention if necessary


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.