From New Year’s Eve to Diwali to Bonfire Night, the year is filled with celebrations that involve fireworks. Here’s how to keep your little one safe
Firework displays can be a fun and exciting time for children, but it’s important they’re kept supervised and safe. More than 550 children are taken to A&E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night.
If you’re going to watch fireworks outside, make sure you and your little one wrap up warm. It can get cold at night in autumn and winter, so make sure you’re prepared with thick socks, gloves, hats and a good coat. A good rule of thumb is that your little one will always need one more layer than you. If you’re out and about with a pram, a blanket is a good option as it’s easy to add or take off. Babies can’t regulate their temperature, so you’ll need to keep checking that they’re not too hot or too cold.
Protect little ears
If you’re worried your baby or toddler is too little to enjoy the bangs and pops, you can use ear protectors to help muffle the scary sounds.
At home, if you’re hosting your own fireworks you can always go inside to admire the display. You’ll be able to turn off the lights and watch them through the window without the noise and cold.
Go for glow sticks
Advice from the Child Accident Prevention Trust is to avoid holding a baby or child while you have a sparkler. This is because little ones can be very wriggly, and might unexpectedly reach out.
Although it can be tempting to let your toddler or preschooler join in the fun, children under five should never be given sparklers to hold. A fun and safe alternative is to give your toddler a glow stick. They can wave it around just like a sparkler! To make sure kids don’t pick up hot, used sparklers from the ground, keep a bucket of water nearby to put them in once they’ve burnt out.
Keep to the code
Fireworks can be very dangerous so always be careful. Organised events are usually the safest place to watch fireworks. If you’re holding your own display, take precautions, including making sure that only adults light fireworks, and follow the government’s Firework Code. Make sure you read the instructions on each firework. Use a taper to light the firework at arm’s length. It’s extremely important not to go back to a lit firework.
Stand well back
You should make sure the area is clear and everyone is standing well back when you are ready to light the firework. Children need supervision at all times and you should mark out a safe area with a rope or tape for them to stand behind at a safe distance.
The safest place for a bonfire is at least 18 metres from a house and surrounding fences and buildings. If you’re having a bonfire, check that no wild animals are hiding in it before lighting it. Once you’ve finished, make sure the fire is out and no embers are still lit before turning in for the night.
For more tips on staying safe around fireworks, visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust.