The experts at Outdoor Toys have shared their top tips to remember when celebrating Bonfire Night this year, including guidance on setting off fireworks around children, building a bonfire and the safest practices for handling sparklers with your children.
1. Wear the correct clothing and have the right supplies
When setting up a space to host a fireworks display, whether it be your garden or an open field, be sure to have all the correct equipment with you. This can include a first aid kit for any injuries that might occur, a bucket of water or sand to extinguish any open flames and a torch to read your safety instructions for your fireworks!
For clothing, be sure to dress appropriately and not have any loose hanging material that could easily catch fire, and if you have young children, have appropriate eye and ear protection for sensitive ears and bright bonfires. Tie up any long hair for young kids, as well as your own, and don’t wear anything flammable!
2. Buy the right fireworks and use them safely
When buying your fireworks, be sure to only purchase them from reputable sellers, not second-hand, and ensure they are BFA (British Fireworks Association) approved. Once you’ve got your fireworks and are ready to set them up, read the instructions on each box, don’t guess. And it may sound obvious, but use a torch to read them at night, not a lighter!
If you’re setting off fireworks and one doesn’t go off, don’t attempt to relight it. Instead, wait a few minutes before submerging the dud in your bucket of sand or water before disposing of as usual. And most importantly, don’t set off any fireworks after midnight – it’s illegal and could land you a £90 on-the-spot fine, an unlimited fine or imprisonment for up to 6 months for improper use.
3. Only set up a bonfire if it’s safe to do so
If you’re feeling extra celebratory and want to set up a bonfire, be sure to do so in a safe, appropriate environment. Keep any bonfires away from sheds, structures and beneath trees and bushes to avoid a wildfire disaster, and if you’re planning a controlled bonfire, let your neighbours know in advance so they aren’t concerned.
Don’t burn anything other than wood nor use any accelerants such as petrol to ignite it, and don’t let your children throw anything into the bonfire once it’s set up, no matter how eager they are!
4. Keep your distance from the display
Again, it sounds obvious, but keeping plenty of distance from your fireworks or bonfire display is vital to avoid any incidents occurring. Children are much more likely to respond well to a visual barrier, so cordoning off the display with cones or rope will help to keep them away from the fire. And it goes without saying, but never let your children help you set up the fireworks in the area.
5. Handle sparklers safely
Sparklers are another popular activity for the evening, especially amongst children, but they can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Always be sure to wear gloves when handling and never leave your children unattended when they are holding them. Children under 5 shouldn’t handle them themselves and it’s a good idea to talk to your kids about how to handle a sparkler, such as not pointing them at clothing or in people’s faces, before physically giving them one.
Keeping a bucket of water or sand with you comes in handy now as you can easily extinguish the sparklers in there once the fun is over. Ideally, you should encourage your children to handle them one at a time, at arm’s length, and if you’re still worried about them holding it too closely, you can stick the sparkler in a carrot and make them hold that before lighting it!