2 April 2023
Fireworks are a fun and exciting way to celebrate holidays and special occasions. However, they can also be dangerous if not handled properly. Many accidents are caused by fireworks, resulting in injuries to both adults and children, so it is important to take precautions. To keep your kids safe around fireworks, follow these five simple tips.
It’s critical to remember that while they may be pretty and fun, fireworks are explosives, and if they’re used irresponsibly they can cause serious burns, blindness, or even death. It’s best to leave firework displays to the professionals, but if you do decide to have a firework display in your own garden, make sure you have a big enough space for the fireworks you buy. The packaging should tell you how much space you need to leave - this is a minimum of 8 metres for Category F2 fireworks. You should have more than one adult present, so somebody can keep the kids away while another adult prepares the fireworks. Talk to your children about the importance of safety and of staying well back and keep all explosives and lighters well out of their reach.
Never attempt to make your own fireworks. It’s illegal in the UK and extremely dangerous. Fireworks can be sold to people over the age of 18 by registered sellers like supermarkets in the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night and New Year or from licenced shops or websites all year round. If you’re buying fireworks online, make sure the retailer is properly licensed and selling UK legal ones, marked with a CE. Category 4 (labelled F4) fireworks are only legal for professional use.
It’s best to avoid storing fireworks at home for a long time. Store them somewhere where they won’t be at risk of getting damp, as wet fireworks can malfunction, which can be dangerous. A metal box is best, or failing that a plastic one. It’s best to keep them in a cool place, like a garage in winter. Keep them well away from anything flammable or sources of heat. Make sure your kids can’t get to the fireworks - keep them somewhere locked, or on a high shelf out of reach.
Every year, there are reports of children being injured by fireworks that have been thrown or pointed at them. In some cases, these injuries can be very serious. That's why it's important to ensure you never throw or point fireworks at someone, especially a child. Make sure you explain the dangers to your children, as they may encounter fireworks when they’re older and you’re not around and be tempted to play with them.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Keep a torch handy so you can read what’s on the labels (never use a lighter to read them!) If a firework doesn’t seem to have gone off, never return to it to try to relight it - this is a common cause of severe injuries and blindness. Make sure you leave the required amount of space between the fireworks and spectators - preferably more than the minimum. Always have a bucket of water handy in case things do go wrong.
By following these tips, your family will be left with only happy memories of fireworks.