Bonfire night is once again upon us. The night sky bursting into a rainbow of colours, with the whizz pop sounds of fireworks, the tantalizing smell of hot dogs and taste of toffee apples by a roaring bonfire, make it a hotly anticipated night for many kids But, while it is a great time to gather with friends and family and have some fun, it is important to make sure that the 5th of November is one to remember for the right reasons and not the wrong. So, here are some top tips to ensure that your kids stay safe, at home or at an organised display.
A sparkler can reach temperatures of 20 times the boiling point of water, so it is
important that children wear gloves, hold the sparkler at arm's length, away from faces,
clothes and other people, and always have a bucket of water or sand nearby to put used sparklers in - hot end down.
Sparklers are not safe for children under 5 years, so a grown-up should always handle them. Glow sticks and necklaces or battery-operated light up toys are great alternatives for younger children.
It is recommended that you avoid fireworks at home, however, if you do wish to put on your own display, do make sure that you stick to the Fireworks Code:
• Buy fireworks marked BS 7114 only.
• Never drink alcohol when responsible for fireworks.
• Keep fireworks in a closed and secured box – out of the reach of children.
• Follow the individual firework instructions carefully.
• Use a taper, and light fireworks from arm’s length.
• Enforce your own viewing area and stand well back.
• Never return to a lit firework, even if it hasn’t fired.
• Never put fireworks in your pocket, or allow others to, or throw them.
• Always supervise children, ensuring that they are in a safe viewing area
Minimise smoke by only burning dry material - small children panic easily and smoke can cause them to dash about near the flames.
Ensure the bonfire is well away from other flammable objects such as fences, overhanging trees, sheds, or where children will be playing.
Clearly mark out the border of the bonfire with stones or bricks.
Stand far back at a safe distance from the fire with your child – never leave a child unsupervised near the fire.
Always light the bonfire carefully. Petrol, paraffin or sprits should never be poured directly onto a fire. Use fire lighters to prevent sudden flare-ups
As with sparkler safety, keep buckets of water near to hand, or a connected hosepipe.
Children should never attempt to help an adult light a bonfire. Bonfires can be extremely dangerous, therefore a child should never assist in lighting, even if the fire is relatively small.
Wearing loose clothing is not advised but it is important that children know how to Stop, Drop and Roll if their clothes do catch fire. The instinct is to run. So, encourage them to practice stopping, dropping to the ground, covering their face with their hands, and rolling over a few times to put out the flames during a safety chat before the event. You don’t want to scare your kids, but it is vital that they understand that while it is a fun time, it can also be dangerous.
Anxious children may find it easier to watch from a distance, perhaps inside watching through a window if at home, or away from the crowds at an event, or they may like to wear ear defenders to dampen down the sound of the bangs.
Once kids realise that they can have fun and be safe though, you will have them creating some wonderful lasting memories.